|While attending Abraham Rogarshevsky's
funeral, friends and neighbors of the family would prepare the apartment
for shiva, the traditional Jewish period of mourning. After
returning from the cemetery, the Rogarshevsky family would first rinse
their hands outside of the tenement and then eat the seudat havra-ah, which
is the traditional mourning meal in the Jewish faith. All of the
food is round which signifies the circle of life that has no end and no
beginning, but goes on and on forever.
"In Chinatown, what they do is they
will have a meal afterwards, but not in any house. Normally at the restaurant.
And in the restaurant, they already know that they call the white meal.
The tradition Buddha, white is death. White is something, not good. American,
or Christian is black. White is the opposite really, celebration. And
like the wedding gowns is white. Chinese wedding gown is red. All the
brides wear bright color. White is a mourning color. I think that has
to do with Hinduism and Buddha. So any time you wear white you are in
mourning. You go to the restaurant you will have that white meal. You
book the banquet especially for the death. So after the wake and the
funeral normally you go there, round tables, you eat a lot more simply
then wedding banquet, they always have meat and white liquor. Clear ones
like sake, something significant of their mourning, nothing bright, tablecloth
is white and everything. Even the Catholic Chinese they do that too."