Funeral Parties

Pronouns: She/Her

Age: 21

Nationality: American

Primary Language(s): English


“So for ‘funerals’ we do celebrations of life where we get drunk and party to our loved ones’ lives. We normally don’t have a funeral service. Instead, we make powerpoints, speak on our favorite memories, and take shots in their honor. That’s the funeral.”


This informant is one of my close friends. She is fairly close with her family and visits her parents often.


This ritual is practiced in the presence of death with the purpose of celebrating the deceased family member’s life. It is a ‘separation rite’ (as defined by Arnold van Gennep) because it ritually marks the separation of a loved one from his or her family, friends, and life. By choosing to celebrate the family member’s life rather than mourn the family member’s death (in other words, seeing death as an opportunity for positivity and connection), the informant’s family is more easily able to cope with the passing of their loved ones. In other words, partying in the face of death is another form of mourning/coping.