1. The Coffin is ordered (traditionally made by a local carpenter at the Wake house).
2. Supplies are brought in - bread, meat, food of all kinds. Whisky, stout, wine, pipes, tobacco, snuff. (Tobacco and snuff are extremely important as is alcohol).
1. Silent Sisters gather at the house of the dead for a ritual cleansing.
2. The body is washed.
3. A habit is put on the body.
4. A bed is prepared for the body.
5. If the body is of a man - he has to be clean shaven before the habit is put on.
6. A seven pointed star is placed on the breast and prayer beads are put in the fingers.
7. Sheets are hung over the bed and along two or three sides.
8. Candles are lighted in candlesticks near the remains. (This process takes about two hours)
'KEENING & CRYING'
The vocalizations over the dead are very important.
1. The women who prepared the body join the family.
2. The mourning family produces either muffled sobs or loud wailing related to the depth of sorrow.
3. In the event that the death was considered a “great loss” (a parent leaving a large family or tragic or early death) Keening is most intense and heartfelt.
4. After a while of Keening mourners are led away from the bedside by a few neighbours and are consoled.
5. Word is sent out to distant relatives and is spread with the help of a local shop or village.
6. Preparation and then Keening does not wait for the arrival or others.
7. If the person dies late in the evening the main Wake is not held until the following night so as to give neighbours and distant relatives time to attend.
'SET UP OF THE WAKE HOUSE'
1. A plate of snuff is taken to all for a pinch. A clay pipe filled with tobacco is given to all and all are provided with food and drink - traditionally a meal.
2. Pipefull's of tobacco are offered.
3. The place for the corpse is determined by the house itself. A table, settle or bed in the kitchen or one of the rooms is used. A loft may be used.
4. The clocks are stopped as a mark of respect. (Roslea).
5. All mirrors are turned toward the wall or covered. (Roslea).
'WATCHING THE BODY AND RITUAL OF VISITING THE CORPSE'
1. Upon a death, a family member, friend, or even a concerned stranger stands last vigil. A corpse must not be left unattended for the entire Wake.
2. A person, generally one woman or more sits nearby.
3. On entrance, the mourner makes their way to the side of the corpse, kneels down and silently recites a few prayers for the departed soul.
4. Mourner is then welcomed by the relatives and expresses sympathy. “I’m sorry for your trouble”...then the mourner speaks kindly of the deceased and then walks away.
5. The mourner is offered food and drink for the hours spent at the Wake. If the weather is good the men congregate outside - if not, they go to the kitchen (this is very important and traditional). The corpse is often in the parlour and there is a division between the room of the corpse and celebration.
6. The mourner stays for a few hours. The old men and women come in the morning and with the end of the working day others in the community stop in.
7. The visitation lasts until midnight.
8. A prayer to the Seven is recited once or twice - first at midnight and then again towards morning. The prayer is lead by a septon and the relatives take part.
9. Most visitors leave at midnight.
10. Close neighbours remain till morning. They drink tea, whisky or beer and talk about general affairs. Anecdotes are told with quiet laughter but within a solemn and decorous mood.
11. There are two funerals for the corpse, one in the evening and the second is when the body is taken to the graveyard on the next day and buried.