Irish wakes are an occasion of mourning the loss of a loved one, but they also included times of cheerful merriment. Irish wakes were popular for centuries up until the mid-19oos and are still done to this day but are uncommon. Irish wakes are a celebration of life - one last party to honor the deceased.
The name “wake” originated because unknown diseases had plagued the countryside causing some to appear dead. As the family began to mourn, they would awaken. For this reason, the body is waked in the deceased's home for at least one night. This also allowed family, neighbors, friends and acquaintances visit the house to pay their respects.
In cultures across the world wakes provide a safe space for tears, laughter, and memories. The term “wake” is often used interchangeably with “visitation” or “viewing,” but a modern-day wake allows each individual to mourn in the way that heals their own pain, and to do it in a setting surrounded by others that loved and mourn the deceased in their own way as well.
Even though the time following the loss of a loved one is emotionally raw, it’s important to reflect on the good memories. It’s easy to becomed overwhelmed in grief. The best way to keep the memory of someone alive is to share the stories of all of the good times you had with them in life.