New Orleans Jazz Funeral Service Rituals

May 15, 2019 6:29 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Depending on the style and tastes of your family or loved one, a New Orleans jazz funeral service might be exactly the most fitting funeral service in Chicago, IL for your needs. A New Orleans style jazz service has many aspects in common with a New Orleans wedding ritual, in fact, and it can be an upbeat affair that challenges the notion that a funeral should be somber. If you’re interested in the history and tradition of the New Orleans jazz service, read on!

New Orleans jazz service tradition

A New Orleans jazz funeral service is characterized by music and dancing as a way to commemorate the life and passage of a loved one. The music and dancing were intended to help the deceased find their way to heaven as well as celebrate the final release from the bounds of earthy life, including, historically, slavery. Many elements of the music and style, such as the chanting, tambourines, drums and dancing, were reminiscent of African funeral traditions, and many African-Americans in the deep South adopted this style of funeral, especially Protestants. Over time, this type of jazz funeral gained popularity and became one of New Orleans’ most honored traditions, complemented by horse-drawn hearses and parades, for many honored members of the community, including police officers and musicians.

Elements of the New Orleans jazz service

There are many takes on the jazz service tradition. Historically, services could last up to a week and include a parade march from the home of the deceased to the church or funeral home of the service. The coffin accompanied this march, carried by the horse-drawn hearse, and was complemented by a brass band playing somber dirges. After the memorial service, the band accompanied the march to the cemetery, playing until the coffin was lowered into the ground. The march along the street to the cemetery afterwards accrued some additional mourners among those on the street, known as the second line. After the burial, the music changes to wilder, swinging beats, accompanied by drums and tambourines and dancing. The switch to the happier music suggests the cathartic release for mourners and a transition into celebrating the life of the deceased. This would begin the march to the reception.

Choosing a New Orleans jazz funeral

A New Orleans jazz funeral service in Chicago, IL is a respected choice. Many famous men and women have had a commemorative jazz service, including the memorial for the 1,700 Hurricane Katrina victims in 2006. It carries roots of African funeral rituals and has evolved throughout the 20th century to celebrate and exalt the life of a loved one. It’s a unique symbol of both death and life.

If you’re interested in learning more about your options for a funeral service in Chicago, IL, Marik-Baken Funeral Services Ltd. is committed to compassionate, customized funeral services to meet your family’s needs. We offer traditional funeral services, memorials, cremation and pre-arrangement planning. We are family owned and operated, with over 40 years of experience. Our team is available to answer your call 24 hours a day. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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