When someone dies in Costa Rica, friends and relatives are notified by telephone or wire or by a message read over the radio. Several times per day obituary’s are announced on the local radio station so everyone can hear who has died in recent hours. Middle and upper-class families also announce their bereavement in the newspapers-usually after the burial, which by law must be performed within 24 hours…yes 24 hours. Embalming is rarely done unless some mourners need a day or two to arrive for the funeral, perhaps from the states.
After the funeral mass, the mourners, singing and praying in unison, follow the pallbearers to the cemetery-often on foot if the cemetery is nearby. A hearse carrying only wreaths and flowers may preced the pallbearers. Traffic stops for an event such as this as it is quite a site to see the coffin being carried down the street followed by family and friends.