Leichenschmaus: The German word for a funeral reception literally translates to "corpse feast"

Literally: “corpse feast” / meaning: funeral reception

This word may sound like the name of a death metal band playing regularly at Wacken Open Air. However, it describes a rather quiet and peaceful tradition that has been around in many cultures since prehistoric times. So even before Wacken was a thing.

The Leichenschmaus usually takes place immediately after a burial, when families and friends of the deceased gather at a café or a restaurant near the cemetery. The term has been in use at least since the 18th century. There are also a bunch of creative alternatives like Leidmahl (“grief meal”), Traueressen (“sorrow food”) or Tränenbrot (“tear bread”) which are all not without their own level of macabreness. 

At a traditional German Leichenschmaus, the focus is on rather casual food like canapés and sheet cake. The good thing is: Beer is usually served at the host’s expense. So if nothing else gives you solace, that most probably will.

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