Monday 25 November 2019


Herodotus says for Thracians that "when a child was born, they would gather and cry and lament all the hardships the new human would have to go through in his, her life. Funerals were the opposite, happy and full of joy for the deceased was leaving all the suffering behind..."

Some people says that that seems like a terribly depressing way to live...

Maybe if you come from a priviledged background. The thing is, life for most people even today is hard, dangerous, often tragic and short. You acknowledge this, and then go on with it, and try to make the best of it...

Interestingly, in the past, Serbs also rejoiced during funerals. There are even ethnographic records that say that it was obligatory to make jokes during funerals. When Serbian refugees arrived to Italy in the 15th c. Italians were shocked by Serbian funeral parties, which involved drinking, dancing and rejoicing...

Very similar to the Irish "wake" funeral party. Although death is a sad occasion a traditional Irish wake is seldom solemn. Friends and family gather in the house of the deceased and share memories and funny stories about the deceased. It is a celebration of the dead person's life, not crying over his or hers death. Food and drink are always present and although the church tried to ban alcohol from wakes it was unsuccessful. The reason why they wanted to ban alcohol is because they wanted to stop the "unchristian partying" around the coffin...

This is why the best party I attended the year I moved to Ireland was my wives's grandmother's funeral...


  1. Current Serbian funerary practices are where most of pagan Slavic customs have survived to this day. While modern funerals in Serbia are in no way merry or contain any aspects of joy (woeful lamenting by women - ghastly to listen to - is an old tradition that is used to emphasize the life-deeds of the deceased) plenty of pagan customs remain. The main is food - what once was called "tryzna" - a funeral feast for the glory the deceased. In pagan times it was most likely a sort of a "party" as you say, but it is likely that Christianization brought on the mostly solemn aspect to funerals. Modern tryzna involves spreading rich foods of all kinds directly onto the grave (dirt mound) and all the mourners must eat. Foods and alcohol are also offered to the deceased. Isn't it fascinating that even today, in the 21st century, we are first hand witnesses and active parts of ancient Slavic pagan rituals? Traditions are hard to root out, and luckily so.
    In Bosnia, the term "trizna" still survives, related to crossroads - and we know that crossroads had a special meaning for Slavs, in funerals as well.

  2. the same tradition is present in Macedonia, even in the present days
    after the funeral, the "sad part" family and close friends are gathered and spontaneously they start to make jokes
    I remember this well, since as a teenager, my dear grandfather died, and I was witness to that, and i (with teenage concept of morality and pureness) hated all of them for being hypocritical, now, as a psychologist i see the positive side of the mental health/hygiene of that practice...
    good post
    keep up!

  3. Thracians = Serbs ???
    O M G