“Funeral Train”

Funeral Train in downtown Atenas seen from Central Park

I walked downtown for a light lunch around 1:00 and saw that a funeral was in process, leaving the Atenas Catholic Church facing the central park. Street width for a block+ was shoulder to shoulder people walking behind the flower-covered hearse. A big funeral this time!

The whole traditional process can be read about at Death in Costa Rica or a quick summary by me: Someone dies and within an hour or so every family member and friends knows at warp speed. The body is dressed and prepared for burial while another family member arranges the funeral mass for that day or the next morning if death is late in day. There is no embalming (available but very expensive). There may be a brief wake or visitation before the mass. After the mass is when the above “Funeral Train” begins as a hearse, covered in flowers, slowly drives to the cemetery with everyone following on foot, family members first. There is sometimes some low moaning or crying as they slowly walk to the cemetery.

This is the second funeral train I have come upon. I also posted a photo of the first which was much smaller and in a residential neighborhood.

And in spite of an occasional funeral, Costa Rica is still the Number 1 Happiest Country in the world. I just found another website listing of the happy that put us at #1:
Thanks to Natalie for this one!