EndNotes

November grief work: Beards and abstinence

ORG XMIT: AKAG102 In this Thursday, May 14, 2009 photo, John Dahlen, back, Tim Slade, left, Jonathan Galin and Neal Haglund, who will compete in the upcoming 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships coming to Anchorage, display their beards and moustaches in Anchorage, Alaska.  More than 200 competitors from 12 countries, including Germany and Austria, will compete in the event hosted by the South Central Alaska Beard and Moustache Club. (AP Photo/Al Grillo) (Al Grillo / The Spokesman-Review)
ORG XMIT: AKAG102 In this Thursday, May 14, 2009 photo, John Dahlen, back, Tim Slade, left, Jonathan Galin and Neal Haglund, who will compete in the upcoming 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships coming to Anchorage, display their beards and moustaches in Anchorage, Alaska. More than 200 competitors from 12 countries, including Germany and Austria, will compete in the event hosted by the South Central Alaska Beard and Moustache Club. (AP Photo/Al Grillo) (Al Grillo / The Spokesman-Review)

During a recent discussion of our favorite hard liquor, the Irish priest in my chaplaincy internship program mentioned that he gives up all alcohol in November, in honor of the dead. It's an Irish tradition, he said, though it's dying out there.

In the US, in some faith traditions, the deceased are remembered Nov. 1 (All Saints Day) and Nov. 2 (All Souls Day). But in Ireland, the whole month is dedicated to remembering the dead.

I'd heard of giving up alcohol for Lent (which arrives in late winter) but November? News to me.

It made me think of Novembeard, the more recent phenomenon of men growing their beards all month. It's caught fire in the US recently, thanks to Facebook. Beard growing is a grief tradition, too, though most men growing Novembeards aren't in grief.

Men in some faith traditions, (most notably in some expressions of faith in the Jewish traditon)  will not shave following a family member's death.

Fasting, beard growing. November is a more interesting month than I ever knew. Cheers. 

(AP file photo)




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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.





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