Many cultures choose to view services at funeral homes in Oakland, CA as chance to celebrate the life of their lost loved one through unique traditions rather than viewing them as sad events in which they mourn the death of their loved one. One such happy, celebrating tradition is the crowning ceremony.
A crowning ceremony is a traditional part of an African American or Black Canadian homegoing ceremony in which, before the final viewing and benediction, a crown is presented by a family member or officiant and then placed on the deceased’s head inside the coffin. The crown used in a crowning ceremony is just what you’d imagine, a jeweled, bedazzled, or otherwise decorated ornament that is sometimes ordered special by the family or borrowed from the funeral home for the service.
The crown is often presented to a piece of music, sung along by the gathering or by a special choir, and is placed on the head of the deceased, proving they were a king or queen both in life and in death. Then the service continues according to the funeral program. The funeral crown holds specific significance thanks to symbolism in the Bible. Revelation 2:10 reads, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Though the “crown of life’ referenced in this passage is not a literal crown, it does represent the gift of eternal life for those who believe in God.
The crowning ceremony is derived from this passage and serves to symbolize this promise of eternal life through a physical crown. Though the crowning ceremony is a modern tradition, it does have roots in several ancient traditions from many different parts of the world. Throughout history there have been many cultural practices surrounding death that depict an idea of what happens in the afterlife, such as Egypt and Poland. Ancient Egyptians decorated their dead and the tombs with clothing, jewels, and everyday items as they believed the dead would take whatever they wore and whatever was buried with them into the afterlife. In the 1500s, Polish kings were buried with the Funeral Crown, known in Latin as Corona Funebris, until the next king died, and the crown was passed to him. The living kings wore different crowns.
The most recent iteration of the crowning ceremony popped up very recently, as demonstrated in the viral video of “coffin dancers” carrying a casket in rhythmic step to an upbeat and celebratory song. While some people thought the video was disrespectful of the dead, it is, in actuality, just a different way of honoring the deceased than many Americans are used to. It’s simply a unique form of celebration for the dead, to stay joyful and positive for who they were in life.
We are here to help if you want to celebrate your lost loved one with a crowning ceremony or a more traditional service. Call or visit us today to learn more about our Oakland, CA funeral home services.