How things go when there is a funeral here on Crete. Because of the high temperature people are buried within 24 hours after they die. That is also the reason why people don’t send announcement cards of the death. Instead, posters are put up on trees and lampposts to announce somebody has died. Usually this poster is a A4 sized paper with a picture of the deceased, the time of the memorial service and funeral and the names of family members. In small villages the church bells are being rang. There is a special sound to it, so that the people of the village know somebody has died.
The deceased is displayed at home. The lid of the coffin is put at the frontdoor of the house with wreath on stands surrounding it. A memorial is held and everybody that wants to pay the last respects can do so. During this final goodbye flowers are being put on the coffin.
The next day one goes to church to say final goodbyes and pay last respects once more. Generally this is done by giving the deceased a kiss on the forehead.
After the service one goes to the cemetery where the deceased is buried.
Because the soil is very hard, it’s difficult to dig a hole. Instead the coffin is placed in a concrete grave that will be covered up with marble.The wreaths are now placed at the entrance of the cemetery.
It is common to leave the coffin slightly open. This is done to speed up the process of decomposition. When you have not bought your own grave, you will have to rent one. After three-five years the grave will be emptied. The remainings will be cleaned and adjoined in a bone house on the cemetery itself.
On the graves you will often find a small iconostasis, a memorial with a picture and a candle.