Reviving an old tradition: paying our respects when a funeral procession passes

On Easter Sunday, the number of deaths from the coronavirus in Britain passed the 10,000 mark. The impact of this deadly disease has hit every corner of the country, and affected every community.

Every day, hundreds of funerals are taking place for the deceased, which are being performed under severe restrictions. These include limiting the number of relatives attending to a handful so as to contain the pandemic.

It’s prompted funeral directors nationwide to try and revive an old, but important tradition for this sacred last journey.

Mel Guney, who administers UK Turkish Islamic Funeral Services, asked for this message to be shared across the British Turkish community, just as it is among other communities up and down the country:

“ Could we ask everyone for some help at this very difficult time, by paying our respects.

“If you see a hearse, could you stop, stand for a moment as it passes. Perhaps take off your cap, and/or bow your head?

“In these times where funerals are limited to only a very few close family, our chance to support people during bereavement is limited. So, we wondered if we could revive an old tradition that would show people that their loss is noticed and shared by us all?

“It would mean the world to families at this time of immense sadness.”


Main image, top, of funeral procession for Canan ‘Mary Jane’ Mustafa as it enters Tottenham Park Cemetery, 24 Jan. 2020, Photo 171 © Louis Amore