Puerto Rico’s ‘Standing Funeral’ Trend Is Real And It’s Completely Legal
Funerals aren’t known for being fun. Even when people say they want to ‘celebrate’ someone’s life, most of the time, funerals are gloomy events. Well, in Puerto Rico, there’s a trend that eschews the idea that funerals should be somber and cold.
In a move to liven up funeral ceremonies, Marin Funeral Home in Puerto Rico began organizing “standing funerals,” which let loved ones hang out with the deceased as they remembered them in life. Instead of looking at a casket, the deceased may be standing, sitting or even playing poker. Gives a whole new meaning to the word “wake.”
People first caught on to the trend in 2008, when Angel Luis “Pedrito” Pantojas Medina stood at his wake for three days.
According to El Nuevo Día, Pantojas said he always wanted to be on his feet, even at his funeral. His family wanted to honor his wish and the Marin Funeral Home made their request a reality. The community was so impressed, a trend was born.
David Morales Colón’s family took it one step further, having his body embalmed and then placed on his Honda motorcycle.
In life, Colon told his family he didn’t want a traditional funeral – so they immortalized the late motorcycle enthusiast on his bike. Everyone agreed it was incredibly lifelike and was as though he were still riding through the streets. He was not, however, buried with the bike, which was valued at $14,000.
Then came this paramedic, who wanted to be remembered as he served in life.
Edgardo Velázquez, requested his family honor his occupation at his funeral. Marin honored his wishes by displaying his uniform-clad body in an ambulance, thus celebrating his life’s work.
This man was seated cross-legged as a tribute to his hero.
A soldier in life, Carlos Cabrera revered Che Guevara. In death, his family dressed him like Guevara and had him seated cross-legged with a cigar in his hand, just like his hero.
Christopher Rivera was decked out in his fight gear.
Rivera wanted to be remembered for his boxing skills, so Marin spent hours creating a fake boxing ring for his wake. He was also dressed in boxing gloves, trunks and boxing shoes.
Renato Garcia wanted to go out like a superhero.
Renato Garcia loved wearing his Green Lantern costume around town so much that his family chose to remember him as the superhero. Talk about a super fan!
And Georgina Chervony Lloren wanted to attend her own funeral service as a guest.
Sitting in her rocking chair and surrounded by flowers, Georgina Chervony Lloren wore her wedding dress to her funeral, just as she wished. What a way to go out!
Although other funeral directors have called the practice “sacrilegious,” Funeraría Marin knows they’ve struck a chord with local families. So much so, that they’re keeping their signature embalming process a total secret. Is it legal? Yes. According to the Washington Post, Puerto Rico’s Department of Health has looked into the process and concluded no law has been broken.
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