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Off the wall question

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know the symbolism behind the bagpipes playing at funerals? I was watching the news and they were showing a group of bagpipes practicing for the funerals this coming week. I remembered after 9/11 all the bagpipe funerals for the police and firemen, so apparently the astronauts also receive the same honor. Bless their departed souls.
post #2 of 15
That is interesting... I've never thought about it before.

If no one can tell you, I'll ask at the nursing home next time I go for a visit. They love to tell stories of traditions, and one of the residents is bound to know. (I just might have to sit there for a couple hours to hear it... but I don't mind. )
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Cool that would be neat. I would like to know the symbolism behind bagpiping souls to heaven's door.
post #4 of 15
It may have started, with all of the Irish New York City police officers. The pipers at their funerals are from the Emerald Society, a fraternal organization, of Irish-American police.
post #5 of 15
I would say the same. Many police officers of Irish decent. My father's side of the family is Welsh. We had bagpipes at his funeral and memorial service (at his request). Both times, the bagpiper exited playing. We could hear the song as it faded into the distance. It was quite haunting and beautiful.
post #6 of 15
Here's a link with discussion about the bagpipes tradition.

Funerals and Bagpipes
post #7 of 15
Interesting question. I looked on Google, and found this on a site
of a bagpiper looking for work:

"Since the tragedy of September 11, 01, many have asked about the reason the bagpipes were played for the fallen police and firefighters. The playing of the pipes at a wake or funeral is a centuries old tradition among the Scots, Irish and British, particularly the solo piper as you might have seen. British military units often had pipe bands and would salute their fallen comrades in this fashion. In the last century many larger US cities formed bagpipe bands often sponsored by the local Emerald Society or St. Andrews Society and because of the large number of Irish and Scots in both the Police Departments and Fire Brigades when one of their own passed away they would bring out the band in honor of their fallen countrymen. The tradition expanded to honor any officer or fireman killed in the line of duty."
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! Another burning question that was in my brain has been answered. I just think the bagpipe is a beautiful instrument and I admire anyone who can play it- or is it them?
post #9 of 15
or how about this one...
how come at christmas lots of people here in new england just put single candles in their windows.... I dont get it..
post #10 of 15
Originally posted by Imagyne
or how about this one...
how come at christmas lots of people here in new england just put single candles in their windows.... I dont get it..
Lighted Candle Placed in Window

A distinctive feature of Christmas decorations is the very large candle placed near the front window and lighted on Christmas Eve. According to one belief, the candle long served as a symbol of welcome to Mary and Joseph who sought shelter in vain on that first Christmas Eve. The ceremony of lighting the candle is one of simple ancient rituals during which prayers are said for the departed and the privilege of striking the match is usually given to a daughter named Mary. (Another tradition is that the candle be lighted by the youngest member of the family and snuffed out only by someone named Mary).

This flickering symbol also served as a signal in times past to any priest seeking shelter and protection that he was welcome in this house and that it was safe to say Mass there.

Candle lighting at this time can also be traced back to antiquity, to the time when ancient Romans lighted candles at the midwinter festival to signify the return of the sun's light after the winter soltice.

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Wow, reading that brought a warm glow. Thanks Kass!
post #12 of 15
That's me! Trying to bring a warm glow to everyone!

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
And you do GREAT research!
post #14 of 15
Hissy- I also heard quickly on the news that one of the astronauts liked bagpipes (maybe thier heritage) and was playing a recording of bagpipes on the last morning. Something like that.

post #15 of 15
Wow! I hadn't read this thread yet and it was very interesting! Thanks guys for all the information!!
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