‘Gaelic Rituals Around Death and Dying - The Concept of ‘Home'.

Mark Sheridan, Maria McGill, Mark Hazelwood

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Gaelic rituals around death and dying - the concept of ‘home’ ‘Knowledge of our ancestors keeps the past alive, and if those who have already died are still with us, then we too, can continue to exist in the minds of future generations after our own death.’ (Solomon et al, 2015: pg103.) Background 'To Absent Friends', a Scottish festival in November, creates spaces in which traditions relating to loss and remembrance can be reignited and new ones created. The festival is part of wider work in palliative care to promote openness about death, dying and loss. The phrase “to absent friends” is a traditional toast at family gatherings such as weddings. Such traditions carry the weight of shared culture and offer insight into community values. Gaelic culture is rich in poetry, chants and songs preserved through oral transmission and collections available today. Aims The aim of this study is to examine the traditions around death and dying in Gaelic culture and to determine if these offer messages for contemporary holistic care in hospice settings and the concept of ‘home’. Methods A literature review and discourse analysis around death and dying in Gaelic Culture and Palliative Care was undertaken to reveal convergence of narratives. Results The study reveals a rich source of material for carers and families to revisit traditional practices offering perspectives around death and dying. A range of sources will be discussed including Ceilidh Culture, Gaelic incantations and customs. Conclusions Traditional Gaelic cultural practices offer insights into the discourse around death and dying - and engaging with such resources may offer support for carers and families in hospice settings and in the ‘home’ environment. References Solomon, S.; Greenberg, J & Pyszczynski, T. (2015) The worm at the core: on the role of death in life. London: Penguin Random House
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 21 Oct 2016
Event 21e Congrès international sur les soins palliatifs - Palais des Congrès, Montréal, Montreal, Canada
Duration: 18 Oct 201621 Oct 2016


Conference 21e Congrès international sur les soins palliatifs


  • Palliative Care
  • holistic
  • home
  • Gaelic Culture
  • Death and Dying


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