Jazz Funerals & Second Line…send me off this way, please…
I have only gone to two funerals,my Mother’s and Father’s. I have this mental block about death and the finality of standing around a grave mourning and walking away without my loved one. For as long as I can remember, it has been made very clear to my children, there will be no funeral with black dresses, dark skies and programs lauding my life’s work. My will clearly states for them to have a celebration complete with food, drinks, music and laughter. Dancing too if the music is right.
New Orleans and I have the same thought process on funerals. Mourn the passing while celebrating the life and thus we have the Jazz Funeral. The notion of attaching musical traditions to social processions emerged in the early 18th century. One manifestation of this social fusion was West Africans combining European traditions to give folks a proper send-off in New Orleans. On the way to the cemetery, slow mournful music is played. Upon leaving, the mood does a 180-degree turn into a party called a Jazz Funeral.
There also is this in New Orleans.
A “Main Line” is the “main section or the members of a Social & Pleasure Club, that have a permit to parade. Social Aide & Pleasure Club tradition is a mixture of African American and African traditions in New Orleans forming one of the most unique cultural celebrations in America. Fans and admirers form the “Second Line” of the planned street parade. Consequently, Main Lines and Second Lines typically are held in neighborhoods where the traditions continue to flourish.
Isn’t this what life is really supposed to be all about? Celebrating our time on the planet. I respect the fact that not everyone embraces this type of funeral procession. However for me, I want trumpets, drums, cymbals, even the spoons are fine.
Just have some good music, let the people dance, smile and celebrate in remembrance.