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Church services in Mallorca are not what they used to be. The role of the Catholic Church in Spain, and in Mallorca, used to be a dominant and highly authoritative one, not all that long ago. Nowadays, the Church has a much reduced influence, with civil liberties on the increase ever since the onset of Democràcia in Spain. These days, church services are only attended to their full capacity on special occasions, such as Nadal (Christmas), Reis (Three Kings), Setmana Santa (Easter) or other important religious festes. Or at noces (a wedding). Or at a funeral, as was the case last night in Felanitx.

The term funeral in Mallorquín signifies the church service honouring the deceased person and not the actual burial at the cemetery. The dead in Mallorca are usually buried the same day they die. Once the news has spread of a person’s demise, friends and neighbours swiftly gather at the affected family’s home to offer their dol (consolation). The vetllador (wake) is then held at the cementeri (graveyard) where the coffin is presented with the lid uncovered for the comunity to bid their farewells. This is followed by the actual entombment. That same night, the funeral (church service) is held at the parochial church. At the end of that service, the whole congregation passes by the front row(s) where the widow(er), children, parents, brothers, sisters and other relatives sit to, once more, offer their pesames (condolences). It is all very moving. I have never been to a funeral service in Mallorca where the church was not packed to its fullest.

The deceased person last night was an 85 year old lady from Felanitx. The funeral was held at the Parròquia de Sant Miquel de Felanitx.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 21st, 2010. The time was 19:32:04.

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January 2010


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