Tunisian Funeral Customs

by J-Touchette

The cemetery of Mahdia in Tunisia is close to the Mediterranean Sea. The city was founded in the 10th century and is home to about 40,000 people today.

The country of Tunisia has roughly a 98% Muslim population, with the remaining population split between Christian and Jewish tradition. Most Muslim funerals are standard according to certain rituals and rites they follow in their religion.

However, in Tunisia, that is changing. Tunisia’s wealthier inhabitants are making their funerals more lavish. From the time the body is washed, to the hefty sum spent on food and service. Funerals are becoming more and more like a wedding as family members take extra care in planning the ceremonies.

When people visit the home or marquee to give their condolences, it will have been decorated as carefully as any hall for a large social event. Families of the deceased hire catering companies and professional waiters to serve the extravagant food.

In addition, families are hiring more religious readers to read parts of the holy book which helps the soul reach peace. Families are actually competing to hire as many of these readers as is possible.

While citizens are taking this action, religious leaders are taking offense. They say that this is veering away from religious tradition, and could lead to hypocrisy. The funeral business however is booming, and the industry doesn’t see a problem with it.

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