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Funerals and Decoration Day

Funerals and Decoration Day

(p.169) Chapter Nine Funerals and Decoration Day
Gone to the Grave
Abby Burnett
University Press of Mississippi

Funerals were often delayed for weeks, months or even years following a death, and were sometimes held during a cemetery’s annual Decoration Day. There are many similarities between the funeral service and the Southern tradition of Decoration Day, which predates the national observance of Memorial Day. The elements that made up both ceremonies (sermons, music, flowers) are described, while the observance of Decoration Day, which makes up half of the chapter, includes a brief history of this occasion. Here there is an emphasis on cemetery cleaning, making crepe paper flowers, the use of other grave decorations and the food (“dinner on the ground”), clothing and religious programs that marked this day as the most important in an Ozarker resident’s calendar.

Keywords:   Delayed funerals, Decoration Day, Crepe paper flowers, Dinner on the ground, Grave decorations

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