Traditional Funeral Food Around the World

Before and after funerals at funeral homes in Rockford, IL, there will likely be a lot of food that is delivered to the home of the bereaved family. While in the United States, this may mean items like lasagna, spaghetti, meatloaf, or tater tot casserole with all the traditional sides, other parts of the world have their own familiar comfort foods that they give to families who have lost a loved one.

In India and parts of Asia where Hinduism is practiced, people who are in mourning cannot eat meat for a proscribed period of time after a loved one dies. Therefore, people who are bringing food to them will include vegetable samosas, vegetarian entrees, and lots of fruit, along with bread. Samosas are a traditional Indian pastry that is filled with vegetables like peas and potatoes and then deep-fried until it’s golden brown and crunch.

In parts of Greece, Eastern Europe, and Russia where Eastern Orthodox religious affiliations are common, koliva is a traditional funeral food. Koliva is made by mixing grains and seeds together using sugar or honey. The mixture is formed into a domed cake, which is then decorated with candy, seeds, or dried fruit. The cakes often have a religious symbol on the top, and they are also blessed by the priest during the funeral service of someone who has died.

Once someone of the Jewish faith is laid to rest (usually within 24 hours of death), their immediate family will eat the “first meal,” which is intended to be a meal of comfort for their loss. Included in the first meal are hard-boiled eggs. The hard-boiled eggs are often hamine eggs, which are eggs that are boiled for up to 18 hours, giving the eggs a nutty flavor.

In Mexico, a common food for the dead – these aren’t always a traditional funeral food, but they are always eaten on the Day of the Dead – is pan de muerto, a type of sweet bread. On the Day of the Dead, Mexicans visit the graves of their loved ones with pan de muerto and share the treats with others as an offering to the spirits of those who have died.

Pan de muerto is a simple sweet yeast dough that is formed into a roll with the shape of a cross on top. They are often decorated with powdered sugar or candy after they have baked.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a traditional funeral food known as Mormon – although they don’t want to be called that anymore – funeral potatoes. It is a staple at funeral receptions for mourners of members of the church who have died. This simple casserole includes diced potatoes, diced onions, a white cream sauce, and cheese. It is topped with either potato chips or cornflakes that have been crunched up and mixed with melted butter.

In some parts of Eastern Europe, food is provided to the grieving family as soon as their loved one is laid to rest. This food consists of a variety of breads and pastries. However, one of the standard foods at funeral receptions is cabbage rolls. Lamb or beef and rice are rolled up in soften cabbage leaves, and then cooked in broth or tomato sauce over low heat for several hours.

For more ideas about food after funerals at funeral homes in Rockford, IL, our compassionate and experienced team at Collins & Stone Funeral Home is here to help. You can visit our funeral home at 128 S 5th Street, Rockford, IL 61104, or you can call us today at (815) 965-1515.

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