Last Updated: 3rd February 2022
Jordan’s society has changed little over the years when considering death and the mourning process.
In Jordan, the mourning of a deceased person is a significant affair that ordinarily takes place over 3 days.
It has developed in that it has become expected of the wider community to show respect and has become a personal obligation to honour the deceased in attending their funeral and the mourning gatherings thereafter.
This mourning period, called the ‘azza’ takes place after the burial, in which the men who have attended go on to join the family extended family of the deceased in a hall called the ‘diwan’ .
Women gather in the home closest to the person who has died and comfort one another, however, the outpouring of grief is not evident and there is a designated room that people can take themselves off to in order to express any emotion there before returning to the main room so that grief is kept private and doesn’t upset anyone else.
There might be up to 100 women in the house at any one time at the azza, with the relatives closest to the deceased remaining for longer than 3 days and extended family and wider members of the community visiting for a short period of time on each of the days of the mourning period.
It is unlikely each of the women attending during this mourning period will know everybody and so the mourning period can be challenging for some at this time of grief.
However, it is considered a personal duty to attend and pass on condolences, taking part in what if offered (traditionally dates are given to eat) before leaving.
It is significant that everyone is expected to show up at an azza regardless of what they are doing as it forms the centre of social life in Jordan and usurps other events such as weddings.
Everyday life is discussed and debated at azzas including: networking, political debate, gossip and matchmaking; and if this is missed by someone for any particular reason, they can look forward to being made to feel awkward for doing so and that it will likely lead to long-term social isolation within the community.
The Jordanians believe so deeply that condolences and respect shown for the deceased is of paramount importance and, in turn, attending azzas are essential because society focuses on this in their daily lives.
Before news is read, obituaries will be checked in the newspapers that are read every morning.
However, there is a digital app for people to use that includes notices of death together with a list of caterers, restaurants and other service providers that may help in arranging funerals and azzas for Jordanians.
It is clear how important the mourning period is for Jordanians.
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