As an Irish Orthodox believer who was raised as a Roman Catholic, there is a long standing tradition of the corpse being waked the night before the burial. The casket is in the persons home or these days a funeral parlour, and literally hundreds of people from near and far file past the open casket, and then the seated relatives of the departed. The atmosphere in the room with the casket is usually respectful, but not overly sombre. The atmosphere in the rooms outside where the corpse is laid is easy going and relaxed with people telling amusing tales about the deceased and generally catching up with each other, a certain amount of drink is consumed, as well as copious quantities of tea, sandwiches, and cake. Despite the stereotypical image the 'wake' does not last all night and rarely if ever descends into a drunken revel. It is entirely natural for people to kiss or touch the hands of the deceased. Usually about 9 pm the cover is put on the coffin and the casket and a lot of other people follow down to the Church where the deceased will wait overnight for the funeral the next day. It is quite a big social occasion and the atmosphere is far less sombre or gloomy than at English funerals..One of the things I find most amusing is that people often comment that 'he looks very well' or 'she looks in great health' or even looks 'like he'd sit up at any moment'. If the deceased looks a bit drawn or gaunt or waxy, people will say ' he looks shook' or 'it took it out of him' or ' doesnt look like her at all'.. I have noticed that in countries with a strong agricultural/farming culture with a strong folk religiosity as in Irish Roman Catholicism, the practices and attitudes are much more akin to that found in Orthodox countries. The aversion/fear of the dead is most noticeable in Anglo Saxon Protestant culture...In the UK, sadly even people with families, get a very poor 'send off' by Irish standards, a man I knew who worked for many years in a local college sadly died in his late 50s and I went to his funeral fully expecting a packed Church, as would be the case here in Ireland, I was astonished to find only 20 people there, and not all of his own blood relatives were present, ie 2 of his brothers who lived a days drive away just sent flowers...this would be absolutely unheard of here in Ireland. It is de rigeur to attend funerals or at least the 'removals' (the night before) not only of relatives, but neighbours, and also to attend the funeral of the close relatives of friends and work colleagues...For example it would be unthinkable that I would not attend the removal of a close work colleagues Mother Father or spouse...Subsequently most people in Ireland would see a dead body at least 8 or 9 times a year, hence reducing greatly the fear, which is entirely misplaced..