Weird and wonderful traditional funeral foods from around the world


There really is something about grief that makes people want to cook for each other and enjoy a good meal with their friends and family.

Food is often seen as a comfort, and there are many cultures that embrace some fabulous hearty dishes, as a way of commemorating the dead.

No, we’re not talking about beige buffets at a wake in the UK, we’re talking about some traditional dishes from different countries that really tickle the taste buds.

Jamaica – Goat Curry
You can’t beat a good curry, and in Jamaica, it’s traditional for a goat curry to be served at any kind of gathering or occasion.

It’s usually served with rice and peas and has plenty of spice, it’s the perfect wholesome dish to warm your cockles and is a great one-pot dish.

USA deep South – Fried Chicken With Mac & Cheese
Sign us up please. In the USA (particularly the deep south), they are big fans of comfort food, and this traditional fried chicken with mac & cheese funeral dish is proper soul food.

A lot of traditional southern funeral foods include southern fried chicken, potato and pasta – basically all the carbs you’ll ever need.

Irish wake cakes signify the celebration of life, they’re basically ‘one last party’ to honour the deceased.

There’s plenty of ways to make your own version of a wake cake, some people even soak theirs in Guinness, which is fair enough.

The homemade cake is kind of similar to a pound cake, and has a similar consistency to cheesecake with it being very rich.

Greece – Koliva
This religious funeral food is usually used in Eastern Orthodox churches across Greece, Cyprus and Balkan countries.

It’s a wheat-based mixture and includes ingredients like honey, sugar, raisins and sometimes even chocolate for a sweet treat.

It’s usually offered during church services and decorated with a candle to honour the person who has passed away.

Ukraine – Kolachi
Sweet bread? Yes please. These ring-shaped loafs are decorated in a woven pattern and are usually common in countries like Russia, Romania and Ukraine.

It’s not just funeral food though, they sometimes use Kolachi during wedding ceremonies too – it’s basically a tasty occasion bread that’ll give Warburtons a run for their money.

Japan – Kyuri uma and nasu ushi
During a memorial festival called Obon held by Japanese Buddhists, spirits of loved ones are thought to visit from the afterlife.

Families make food for their ancestors in their homes, and one tradition is to carve or model a cucumber into the shape of a horse (known as kyuri uma.)

They do the same to aubergines which represent cows, known as nasu ushi, the cow is meant to represent a slow departure.

Korean – Yukgaejang
This meaningful Korean funeral food is pretty much a spicy stew made from shredded beef and spring onions.

Funerals in Korea take around 3-5 days, and those that attend will actually try to stay awake for the full duration as a matter of respect.

Bowls of yukgaejang are served to guests to fill them up with some high quality nutrition, and plenty of spice.

Estonia – Cabbage Rolls
Typically teamed up with roast pork, cabbage rolls are a traditional food in Estonia that is served after the funeral.

The feast will take place at the home of the deceased, and the cabbage is usually stuffed with meat and plenty of seasoning so it’s not just bland cabbage.