Mourning Practices in Iraq

by L-Johnson

Women of the Muslim faith commonly do not attend funerals.

Funerals in Iraq are usually a very simple and somber event. People are buried on the day after their death, and are wrapped in a white cloth and placed in a white box, if available. A black funeral flag is hung along a street or intersection to honor the dead. Wakes are often held in Suuni or Shi’ite mosques. Wealthy families put on more elaborate wakes, building giant tents in their gardens, where for three days visitors pay their condolences and eat hearty meals. A group of “adadas”, or professional mourners, are sometimes hired to dress in black, sing threnodies (mourning songs) and cry for the dead for hours on end. A society that has experienced as much violence as Iraq learns to adapt its mourning traditions to its circumstances. The mounting death toll in the country has led to a boom in the funerary industry: coffin makers, grave diggers, and caterers, for example. Often proper wakes and funerals can’t be held due to dangers of violence.

Read more:

In Iraq, Every Day Is Memorial Day –

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