When a person dies, in different cultures coffee takes on an important role. With its black color it reflects the mystery of death, the loneliness of nothingness. But drinking it together, it consoles and recalls life.
Let's discover together its role in funeral rituals practiced in Syria, Naples and Germany.
ThecoffeeinSyriais an integral part of every ceremony or social interaction. Important moments are always marked by the offering of coffee.During the wake, thewomentalk to each other about the deceased person andprepare coffeein finely crafted coffee pots with long curved spouts. They serve it in small cups, without sugar. Thebitter coffeeis a reminder of the gravity of the moment, the sadness of loss.Themen sit in a circle and listen in silence to a cantor reading from the Quran. A family member serves them coffee forthree days.
AtNapleson the other hand, the ancient custom of"Cuonzolo" is still practiced: a small present brought to the home of those who have lost a loved one, for the purpose ofconsolingand helping in the time of grief. On the morning of the funeral, the family of the deceased would receive food andcoffee. This is to have the strength to face a heavy and tiring day.It is also traditional for neighbors to bring sugar and coffee on the following days. Two goods that symbolizeenergy andlife. They also have the practical advantage of keeping for a long time.
But in Germany, too, the funeral ritual includes coffee. It is called Trauerkaffee,literally "mourning coffee." It is organized after the funeral. People gather to drink coffee and eat cake.
After the gravity of the ceremony at the cemetery, this is a breathing time, more relaxed and convivial. Stories are told about the deceased person, smiles are made about the good times spent together.
For all these cultures, and several others around the world, even at the saddest time, coffee represents a symbol of connection. A way to communicate our closeness, our not being alone.