Bring On The Professional Mourners or Rent One
One of the many complaints funeral professionals had about the TLC special ‘Best Funeral Ever‘ was the part of the show when they showed Golden Gate Funeral Home having a class to fine tune their ‘mourning’ skills (a.k.a. ‘professional mourners‘).
I have come to learn that ‘professionals mourners’ are actually a historical practice and still practiced in some cultures.
Wikipedia gave this definition of ‘professional mourners’:
Professional mourning or paid mourning is a mostly historical occupation practiced in Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures and many other parts of the world. Professional mourners, also called moirologists, are compensated to lament or deliver a eulogy. Mentioned in the Bible, the occupation is widely invoked in literature, from the Ugaritic epics of early centuries BC to modern poetry. Held in high esteem in some cultures and times, the practice was vilified in others.
Many funeral professionals and consumers that watched ‘Best Funeral Ever‘ found the professional mourners to be tasteless and tacky. But in my researching I found that ‘professional mourners’ are not only still used but are also available for rent!
If you ever find yourself in the UK conducting a funeral service and need a few people to kickstart the crying there is a company called ‘Rent a Mourner‘ that is set up to give you what you need.
Here is how they describe their services:
RENT A MOURNER SPECIALISE IN SUPPLYING PERSONNEL FOR EVENTS WHERE YOU NEED TO SWELL VISITOR NUMBERS. Whether you need to introduce new faces, increase perceived popularity or simply increase numbers we are here to help! We can arrange personal meetings or telephone conferences with you to establish exactly what you require and exactly how to deliver it to you.
We are available for both Church or Crematorium gatherings. We can also pay our respects at the following wakes. We will take your guidance on how you would like us to integrate and mix with your other guests. We will remain discreet and professional at all times. We will also strongly adhere to dress codes and are always prompt and on time.
It seems as though ‘professional mourners’ are a real thing.