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Asked by kmkruse - 4 years ago
Additional Details added 4 years ago
is there any history to this. I am a funeral director who has witnessed this many times and i have always been curious as to what the significance is?
I have had families come and ask me what the significance is and i have to be honest and say i really am not sure. I feel the answer to my question may be helpfull to families and friends who may not know why they are doing this. I would like to explain this so people will know why they are doing this. Your help will be much appreciated..Thankyou.
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adw61 Level 55 / Writer
Answered 4 years ago
It is a symbolic gesture that represents your loved ones commending your body back from whence it came. It is a way to show that the proper disposition of your remains was not left to strangers, but was closely overseen by those who knew and loved you best, to the point that they actually placed the first handfuls of dirt into your grave with their own hands.
Additional Details added 4 years ago
It has always been my custom to remove a flower from one of the graveside wreaths and place it into the grave with the handful of soil.
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joensf Level 83
Answered 4 years ago
I like Alen’s (adw) answer better

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At one time people were terrified of being buried alive. There were actual cases of this happening. The gravediggers were always blamed for live burial. Eventually family had to begin the filling of the grave with shovels full of the dirt that came from the grave, then the gravediggers shoveled the rest into the grave. Though some families still do this, in the 20th century, only a small handful of dirt or even a flower has become the ritual.
Encyclopedia of Death.

Chinese Funeral Customs

Family members and other relatives throw a handful of earth into the grave before it is filled.

Funeral Customs - Mexican American

Relatives to throw a handful of dirt on the coffin before the grave is filled.

this doesn’t tell why but is interesting
Rondo Level 43 / Retired, but still active
Answered 4 years ago
I was told it was symbolic and was your acceptance of Christ and the resurrection. dust to dust, ashes to ashes.
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