Experience

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A year ago, I attended a traditional Ukrainian funeral, which was a first for myself. It was an experience that I will never forget, as it was a lot different from any other funeral I have attended. I attended the funeral with my grandmother, as it was for her aunt and I felt it would be beneficial if she attended with someone. On the way to the funeral I had no idea what I was about to experience. On the way out I remember feeling very weird about what all had taken place.

In any funeral I had been to before it was basically a celebration of life where friends and family came together to support each other. However, this traditional Ukrainian funeral felt more like a ceremony than a celebration. The first thing that took me by surprise was the fact that no one spoke in a normal tone; it was always done through chanting or singing. The chanting shocked me because it felt a little harsh considering the circumstances, however, to everyone else it seemed normal. To any traditional Ukrainian people, chanting is normal whether it is a funeral, a wedding or a weekly service.

The next thing I noticed was that everything being chanted or sung was in Ukrainian. This did not really surprise me, as I knew it was a traditional Ukrainian service and I expected at least a bit to be done in Ukrainian, if not all of the service. Chanting is a common symbolic activity or ritual that includes social participation and is designed to contribute order when crises disrupt life. (Corr & Corr, 2009) For myself, this made it hard to follow along, as I could not understand the language. Therefore, I did not know what was happening most of the time. My grandmother could speak the language and understand so she would always be telling me what was happening or what was about to happen.

As the funeral went on the use of incense became prominent during some chants and hymns. This was my first ever experience with incense and it took me by surprise. By the time the funeral was...
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