Ukrainian funeral

A priest would come with men to carry down the corpse and set it on a bench in the icon room, a burning candle at its head. And there’d be more, there’d be food, breads of all kinds. This wasn’t Russvelt’s first Ukrainian funeral and he’d told the Kotzes what to expect. Bread and honey at the feet, bread in the coffin, food everywhere, spare candles and money, too—coins on the eyes and lips, more thrown in the coffin, small bills in the dead hands to pay off dead relatives’ debts in the goyish afterworld: crowding close and staying underfoot, a small quick-fingered person could thrive. Here, death meant feasting.

When an old woman dies during the war in occupied Ukraine, characters in LAMENT wind up dressing the body. Material for this whole section in Part 2 was derived, very enjoyably, from a 2003 study of “The Structure and Function of Funeral Rituals and Customs in Ukraine,” by Natalia Havryl’iuk published in Folklorica; here I found details such as the corpse bathing water’s being regarded as a cure for eye disease, the falling icon superstition, too.

cemetery
I picture The Stara’s old grave plot in Obodovka looking like this Polish cemetery in Texas

And this site has a recipe for kolach, the shiny braided bread that figures in the rites.

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