Sunday, December 09, 2012

Vintage Latvian funeral photographs

Funerals in the United States often turn into de facto family reunions. Often I've heard, "How come we only get together when someone dies?"

The situation was the same in Latvia when Mrs. Marathon Pundit was growing up. Only with a twist. Photographs were taken at these funerals--and sometimes caskets, and yes, bodies, got into the picture.

This post may not be for the squeamish.

The first few photographs are from the same funeral--that of the mother of Mrs. Marathon Pundit's godmother, Lūcija Brikša. My wife--wearing a scarf--is in front of the coffin.

The pallbearers are carrying Brikša's body out of the front door of her home in Ogre. Notice the slipshod communist-era brickwork on the building on the right--where another family lived.

Another picture from the same funeral: Mrs. MP is on the left--behind her is her mother, Ida Ecētāja Arkliņa. On her right are Mrs. Marathon Pundit's godparents.

A Lutheran minister offers prayers.

An impressive floral display.

The funeral of Mrs. Marathon Pundit's aunt, Elza Rimsa. Her son, Gunnars Masulis, is the man in the glasses on the left--to his right is my mother-in-law. To see more pictures of Masulis, scroll down to the related posts at the bottom of this entry. Mrs. MP is the child holding a wreath.

Bodies were not often embalmed in Latvia in those days--and I don't believe they are now.

Cemeteries in Latvia are much different than American graveyards. There are more trees and there is a park-like feeling within.

This is a funeral of one of my wife's neighbors in the small town of Sece.

Another photograph from the same funeral--my mother-in-law is on the far right.

A final walk for the deceased.

Time has not been kind to some of these photographs.

"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
Revelations, 2:10

Related posts:

Soviet Army Christmas and New Year cards and photos

Vintage photo: Latvian farm scene

Sece, Latvia's World War I German cemetery

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