A Labor Day Jazz Funeral

6 09 2011

For many, Labor Day signifies the end of summer, a somber day that some look to with mourn. For those who weep at the thought of the summer season coming to an end, this is a holiday that is not something to look forward to. Thankfully however, it is also a time to come together and reflect upon all the fond memories that were had over the past few months.

If you happen to be in Bethany Beach, Delaware on Labor Day (like I was), your mood might be especially depressing. That is because every year, Bethany hosts a Jazz Funeral for the “death” of summer. The Jazz Funeral is a New Orleans tradition where a parade of a jazz band marches with the coffin and plays some good old’ Dixieland jazz. It usually starts off with slow, sad music, and ends with more upbeat music. The music is used to celebrate the life and sometimes the coffin is shaken so that the person can “dance” one last time. Typically, people carry umbrellas and dress festively. (It is New Orleans, after all!)

Bethany has it’s own version of the Jazz Funeral however. The coffin is covered in beach things and is labeled “Summer” with whatever year it is. Yesterday I experienced my first Jazz Funeral and can say that it was pretty moving- even if it was only for a season, not a person dying. I adore the summer, so with the music and procession,  I was moved. Nonetheless, it was a cool way to celebrate the past season and come together. The music was great and the atmosphere was surprisingly joyful, despite the costumes of angels, ghosts, nuns, and priests.

I will definitely have to go to another Jazz Funeral. Maybe I’ll even have to somehow push for my own funeral to be in this style. I think it’s pretty cool, even if I couldn’t physically be there to enjoy it!




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