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9 Spanish funeral customs you need to know about


WHILE many expats in Spain may want to observe UK funeral customs, either by having their body repatriated to the UK or by following British traditions here in Spain, others may want to observe Spanish customs.

But if you’re new to Spain, or just want to know a little more about the country you’ve lived in for a while, how do you know what those funeral customs are?
Golden Leaves International has put together a list of the nine most common Spanish funeral traditions so that when the time comes your family will be familiar with them if that is what you would like for your service.
Their expert team is also on hand to help you put together your perfect service when the time comes, whether observing Spanish or British traditions.
So contact them now to begin choosing a pre-paid funeral plan (link to funeral plans page) which will ensure your wishes are carried out exactly as you want and your family do not have to worry about the financial burden of paying for your service.

1. Funeral within 48 hours

One of the biggest differences between a UK and Spanish funeral is the speed with which they take place.
In Spain, funerals normally take place between 24 and 48 hours after a person has died, although this can often be extended if family need to fly in from abroad.
This time constraint can make arranging the funeral your loved one would want even harder, however, which is why it is even more important to plan you funeral ahead of time when living in Spain.

2. Burial or internment

The most common type of funeral in Spain is a burial or internment, although cremations are increasing in popularity.
You may be wondering what happens at a Spanish funeral, and in most cases in Spanish tradition during a burial or internment a body is inserted into a niche (nicho) for a set number of years at a cemetery. It is then later buried in a common burial ground.
In Spain, niches can be rented for a set term.

3. Flowers

While in the UK it may be traditional to bring flowers to a funeral unless expressly asked not to by the deceased’s family, should you bring flowers to a funeral in Spain?
Here in Spain, it is traditional for friends or acquaintances to send wreaths or other flower arrangements, while more personal lid arrangements and casket covers are normally provided by close family.

4. Dress code

Most people wear black or dark colours at a funeral in Spain, unless specifically told otherwise. Although the dress code is not as strict or formal as it used to be in Spain, it is important to dress appropriately to show respect for the deceased and their family.

5. Paying respects

In Spain it is important to offer your condolences to the bereaved relatives at the funeral or memorial service, even if you have already contacted them before.

6. Children at funerals

Unless they were immediate relatives or very close friends, it is advisable to keep small children- especially babies and toddlers- away from funerals, even in child-friendly countries such as Spain.

7. Seating

The first few rows of seats at a wake, memorial or funeral in Spain are for the immediate family, after that, it is OK to sit in any of the remaining places. Make sure to get there on time so there is no difficulty finding a seat and if you are not sure, just ask if a seat is taken and sit where you can.

8. Helping out

At a funeral in Spain, it is common to offer to help the grieving family, whether by bringing round food or taking care of any other practicalities they may need.

9. The wake

Most expat funerals in Spain will end with a gathering, often for lunch at a restaurant or at the home of the family.
The rules of etiquette are more casual at these events and children are often welcome.

In conclusion

Funerals in Spain are in many ways similar to those in the UK, however the shorter period between a death and a funeral can make arranging one difficult for your loved ones so pre-planning yours is important.
Speak to the experts at Golden Leaves International today to begin planning your funeral, whether following Spanish or British traditions, with one of their pre-paid plans


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