We celebrate the death, well not the death, but a celebration of that person’s life. You know how here you wear black, you have a little get together, it’s very quiet, you can’t make jokes and it’s inappropriate if you do. Where in my family and culture you bring in a big mariachi and a banda, and you play and drink. The banda is literally a band and they have trombones, clarinets, and guitars…um, and basically you drink and get super fucked up until 2 or 3 in the morning. Or sometimes until the sun comes back up. And you make really good food and you just remember their life. I mean, you’re kind of talking about the person the whole time, for example you dedicate songs to them, and you’re just like, “this is for you, fucker! You fucking bastard, you owe me three dollars!” (laughs) You talk a lot about dumb shit they did or as a kid how stupid they were. It’s never like, “we miss them.” Although…the mother is usually crying…afterward you visit their capilla – if you build one – on the anniversary they died.
These funeral customs have similarities to Irish funerals. Like most funerals, it’s about the loss of a loved one, but instead of being somber, sad, and quiet like most Americans are during funerals, they cope with the loss through celebrating that person’s life. Clearly there’s still sadness – the mother usually being the one crying – but by celebrating, drinking, and telling stories about their lost loved one, they possibly have a stronger outlet for their emotions and are able to deal better with their grief.