Funeral Traditions in Italy

by M-Rebeiro

With limited grave spaces available families are using mausoleums to bury their dead.

With Rome as the center of Roman Catholicism, Italy itself has a largely Catholic population. With nearly 90% of the population identifying as Catholic, even with only about 1/3 of that number being described as active, Christian burials lead the country in popularity.

Many Italians are said to have superstitions about death, and thus treat it with a rather strict reverence that persists in Italians who have left their native land. Funerals are often more solemn and traditional, and trends are moving less towards life celebrations like many of its western neighbors. At the funeral itself it is customary to kiss the face of the deceased if it is an open casket, as a sign of respect.

Many Italians use mausoleums because grave space is limited and mausoleums allows for space efficiency above ground. Despite the space limitations, cremations still only account for about 11% of all body disposals as of 2008, though the number seems to be slowly rising.

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