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Polonius3 994 | 12,367  
2 Nov 2008 /  #1
Have any of you found old, yellowed B&W family photos sent from the Old Country showing deceased family members at graveside in open coffins prior to burial? To what extent is the custom of taking pictures of deceased loved ones in their coffins (eg at the funeral parlour) still practised in Polonia?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,379  
2 Nov 2008 /  #2
The last time I saw such pictures, of a then recent funeral, was ten years ago.
The pictures were taken in the church, before the coffin was closed for the final time.

An elderly woman on a tram was showing her friend the photos. I was sat behind her.

I imagine that it still goes on.
SeanBM 35 | 5,806  
2 Nov 2008 /  #3
I was at a funeral here a while ago and people were taking photos, I was not there for the open casket, so I don't know about that.

When I went back to the house the family was showing me old and new photos of birthdays and wedding photos mixed in with funeral photos.
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367  
2 Nov 2008 /  #4
How are things in other countries? The Irish are similar to Poles in many ways. I wonder whether such funeral photos are common in Ireland, or were at one time?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,379  
2 Nov 2008 /  #5
How are things in other countries?

I've never seen such photos in the UK. Northern England to be exact.

Only old mortuary photos of murder victims or murderers etc (after a death sentence). But these are only in books and taken, in some cases, from old newspapers.
JustysiaS 13 | 2,239  
2 Nov 2008 /  #6
i remember my nan had a picture of her mother in a coffin. but we haven't taken my nan's picture when she died... don't think it's a very common thing to do, you don't really want to have pictures of your dead relatives in your photo album :/
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
2 Nov 2008 /  #7
Its practiced... but I dont think its so traditional anymore... just if you wish.
Krakowianka 1 | 243  
2 Nov 2008 /  #8
I dont think its as practiced as it was in the past. I think mostly stopping in the 80s. I do have pics of both of my grandparents in coffins... that died in the 80s. For the ones that passed later on, I dont, so I think the "norms" are changing.
mazzastaffordsh 2 | 68  
2 Nov 2008 /  #9
I always thought this photo business a strange thing to do but my Polish relatives here in the UK explained that when a loved one died in Poland the photos were sent here to relatives who could not attend the funeral and of course vice versa. If a Polish person over here died phootos were sent back to their Polish relatives in their native Poland. Also when my father died here in the UK his family back in Poland went to church at the same time that his funeral wastaking place in the UK, that way they felt that at least they could share some of the funeral even though miles apart. I thought this was very nice of them.
jonni 16 | 2,482  
3 Nov 2008 /  #10
My friend (from £omża) showed me some photos of his granny's recent funeral. Most were of the procession, but there were one or two showing the deceased in an open coffin, so clearly the tradition is still alive in his region. Never liked the idea, myself.
Patrycja19 62 | 2,688  
3 Nov 2008 /  #11
were one or two showing the deceased in an open coffin, so clearly the tradition is still alive in his region. Never liked the idea, myself.

yeah I thought it was morbid, but when you think about it, all the photos taken during WWII of all those starving people suffering, photos taken during veitnam of men strung in trees the apparent suffereing they endured, pictures of dead bodies floating in rivers. photos of dead isnt really just a common practice for just poland because photos are taken of bodies found ( unknown) to identify them, some who might not be identifiable all around the globe..

I wondered the same question, but what mazza says makes sense , because I have heard and our family also owns a picture of a family member who died back in the start of the 30s unexpectedly.. none of them know why this photo was taken, but now seeing a photo like that, it makes sense that they would take a picture with the family around the casket looking at the camera.

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