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of Acadian Life:
Since there were no funeral parlors in those
days, death was handled by family members. When someone died, someone
in the family (of the same gender) would wash the body and then dress it
up. It would be laid out on planks, with a small cloth over the face
and a pillow supporting the head. They body was covered with a white
sheet. A candle would be lit nearby. If they had religious
pictures, they may have been put up on the walls of the room. When
it was time to go to the church, the body was put in a homemade coffin
(coffre) and carried on the shoulders of family friends, who had
already dug a grave and would lower the coffin. Family members didn't
actually participate in those acts. A wooden cross with the name,
and perhaps the age and date of death, were placed at the head of the grave.
Gravesites were cared for by family members. In some areas, they
would decorate them with small white pebbles arranged in a cross surrounded
by a circle.
Source: The Acadians of the Maritimes, Daigle, ed.
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