Many years ago, Finns buried the deceased in a wooden box and believed it to be the deceased person’s home.
Quite often, the box was made by the deceased him / herself and was used for storage before their death.
Whilst relatives of the deceased remembered and worshipped their dead loved ones, as well as asking advice and guidance from them, they had a fear of the deceased in case they returned to the living world in some form.
The catholic religion that became present in Finland did not change traditions much.
Personal belongings were buried with the deceased, including jewellery and personal tools until the early 20th century.
During the 19th century, the deceased were buried in long shirts with sleeves and until the churches’ foundations became overcrowded in the 18th century, the deceased were buried under the floors of churches. It was then that it became banned to bury the deceased under the floors. Now they are buried around the church.
Funerals in Finland these days are non-indulgent.
Mourners historically brought their own food to the house they visited to support grieving families and due to the distance, they often stayed overnight. These days sees food and drink being served by the household.
Funerals are arranged within 3 weeks of death and the deceased is put in their coffin at the place of death and taken to the morgue.
When the funeral takes place, the family of the deceased follow the coffin in their own cars forming the funeral procession.
The coffin in the chapel will be approached by the closest person to the deceased will lay flowers next to the left of the coffin symbolising them being closest to the deceased’s heart.
The significance of flowers continues as many more add flowers around the coffin and may include symbols of the deceased’s place of birth or favourite colours.
After about 30-40 minutes, the funeral service will end and the coffin is carried out by the six closest men of the deceased with the feet first.
Close relatives of the deceased still often wear black for the first 40 days of their loved one’s death, refrain from wearing elaborate jewellery or attend celebratory parties.
The grieving family will send thank you letters to anyone that participated or supported in the funeral or mourning period.