In the book "Angela's Ashes", why did they throw water in front of the funeral procession?

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Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There has been much speculation since Frank McCourt's book Angela's Ashes was adapted for film regarding the scene in which water is poured in front of a funeral procession.  MCourt's book does not include the scene, so no explanation is provided there, and the filmmakers do not seem to have fully understood the purpose of the "tradition."  Research into funeral traditions, especially those born of Catholicism in general and Irish Catholic history in particular, offer an explanation.  To some Catholics, crossing water is an integral part of a soul's crossing into the next life, with the water preventing its return.  In other words, the water...

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americanpsycho | Student

Apparently it had become an Irish tradition to hold back the water used to bathe the corpse, to later throw it in front of the hearse as the funeral procession rolled by. Why? Who knows, but thats the tradition and thats why they do it in the book.   You can hear director Alan Parker say so during the directors commentary if you own the DVD.

 

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