Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Death in Venice

"For many centuries funeral services in Venice have been conducted by the Scuole del Sacramento, instituted for that purpose. To one of these societies the friends of the defunct pay a certain sum, and the association engages to inter the dead, and bear all the expenses of the ceremony, the dignity of which is regulated by the priest of the parish in which the deceased lived. The rite is now most generally undertaken by the Scuola di San Rocco. The funeral train is of ten or twenty facchini, wearing tunics of white, with caps and capes of red, and bearing the society's long, gilded candlesticks of wood with lighted tapers. Priests follow them chanting prayers, and then comes the bier,—with a gilt crown lying on the coffin, if the dead be a babe, to indicate the triumph of innocence. Formerly, hired mourners attended, and a candle, weighing a pound, was given to any one who chose to carry it in the procession."

 From: VENETIAN LIFE By William Dean Howells. 1st January 1867Project Gutenburg

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