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Posts tagged: Novembeard

November grief work: Beards and abstinence

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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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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