Comfort food: Should mourning families feed their guests at a funeral?

Comfort food: Should mourning families feed their guests at a funeral?

Hunger and thirst do not stop following a death, but when guests sit for days on end at the mourning family's home, whose responsibility is it to feed them?

coffin at funeral istock
Coffin at funeral / iStock

Listen to Wednesday's debate about giving food at funerals, or read the details under the podcast.

A funeral is a difficult thing for any family to go through. Not only do you have to deal with the emotions, but you also have to get through friends and family who drop by to pay their respects.  

READ: Meet the women who are making money from crying at funerals

The more the guests arrive, in some homes, there is a certain expectation when it comes to providing food. Is it up to the family to cater for guests coming by, or should it be the friends providing comfort food? I pondered on this after receiving a voice note from a listener who is fed up with providing guests with food following a family funeral. 

Listen to this anonymous listener's voice note:

In my experience, those who come to offer condolences to a grieving family bring dishes of food or platters for the family to eat at their convenience. This helps if your house is full of extended family members, as they’ll be refreshed and fed. In addition, with the void of someone passing, at least the family doesn’t need to worry about catering.

However, I am aware that is not always the case. I chatted with a colleague who said that usually in the Indian culture, it's the family who provides food for the funeral, and the prayers that follow. 

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"I have been to many funerals in my life where on the day the loved-one dies, families bring food as the grieving family aren't allowed to cook. Then on the day of the funeral and the prayers over the next few months, the family normally gives food to those who attend. It's an expensive affair, especially when you have a large family," he said. 

I'm not quite sure if it is a cultural thing, but I always just assumed that guests bring food to funerals. This is all new to me. I guess you learn something new every day.

Is it unfair to expect mourning families to cater for guests attending the funeral?

Main image courtesy of iStock/kzenon

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