37. Non-traditional Wakes

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A wake is when people go to a deceased person's home or a funeral parlor to pay their last respects. A funeral parlor is a place where the preparation of the corpse for burial takes place. Part of the preparation can be dressing the deceased, doing their makeup, and placing them in a coffin for people to see. Some people do have a closed casket wake, where you can't see the dead person; some people are not even choosing coffins for their dearly departed loved ones.

In the United States, more and more families are choosing not to have traditional wakes. There is a recent trend of people having non-traditional wakes with the deceased person posed doing something they loved doing when they were alive. For example, a family in New Orleans had their dead loved one posed at a table with a cigarette between her fingers and a can of beer. One funeral home in Puerto Rico has become famous for its non-traditional wakes. It all started in 2008, when a family asked for their dead loved one to be propped up against the wall of their home for the wake. When a paramedic died, his family had his dead body in the driver's seat of an ambulance. Another family had a man propped up in a fake boxing ring for his wake. One dead man was posed on top of his motorcycle. Recently, a grandmother was posed sitting in her rocking chair.

These non-traditional wakes have their critics though. Some people think they are disrespectful. They think of death as a solemn and sad occasion, not a time to pose the dead as if they were toys. Fans feel it helps them remember the dead as they were when they were alive.

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