A Funeral In Austria

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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A Funeral in Austria Many people would not think that a funeral could be beautiful, but it can be. My husband and I were in Vienna, Austria two years ago on vacation, and we decided to visit his grandparents' gravesite. While we were there we came upon a funeral in progress. We decided to watch from a distance, to see what happens at a funeral in Austria. The cemetery's location, the funeral procession, and the way death is treated impressed me.

First of all, the cemetery was located almost in the heart of downtown Vienna. As we approached the cemetery, my thoughts veered to, "I do not know if I want to do this." My apprehension was interrupted by the beautiful view as we turned off the main road and into the parking lot. The tall tombstones, aged by time, appeared to be rising all along the lush green mountainside.

The grass was a rich emerald green and the trees and shrubs immaculately manicured. The sky was clear blue and a sense of peacefulness passed through me and filled my whole being.

Now I knew why they call it a "Friedhof" or "Peacehaven." As we stood viewing his grandparents' gravesite, we could see a funeral procession. The casket, which was really no more than a simple pine box, rested quietly on a wagon drawn by two black horses. The horses looked as though they had just finished plowing an enormous field. They were hot with sweat dripping from their manes. They looked tired, and to ensure that they would not scare during the long climb up the mountain to the gravesite, their eyes were covered with black blinders. The family members of the deceased were also dressed in black, and the women wore veils, totally covering their faces, to hide...

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