Irish Proverb at Funerals

Genre: verbal lore

Category: proverb

Collection date: Apr.21st, 2022

Main piece:  

“May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead. ”

Contextual data:

Social context:

The informant learns this proverb from her family members, specifically her mother, who is Irish. This proverb is usually performed at a death. She heard this saying mainly at funerals from her family and extended family. It is related to Irish Catholicism, which is a very big tradition. 

Cultural context:

The informant is an American. She has a mixed cultural background of Irish and Bohemian. 

Informant’s comment:

“It’s something I’ve been wanting to investigate. My kind of roots is, as I said, mainly Irish. When I hear things like that it does connect me, it makes me feel a sense of connection, which again I think most people in the United States don’t have that sense of like connection to their family history. I’m hoping to do more investigation about Irish rhetoric, Irish life, and culture.” 

My comment: 

Proverbs are some immediate ways to identify with people who are from the same culture. It is revealed usually unknowingly in conversations, and it can bring a sense of connection immediately between people.