Holding a Wake

Still on the topic of food and drink and the dangers of taking anything into your body.

Not only could the lead in the pewter plates hurt you, so could the lead cups used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination of alcohol and lead would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.

Of course they were not necessarily dead. The folk back then simply knew that sometimes the apparently dead woke up. So they were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.

Hence the custom and saying:

Holding a wake.


Again, the custom of eating and drinking has survived (usually the body is safely at the morgue or at the very least in a casket).

Makes one think!