On the edge of one’s seat

Wakes and customs

Sir, – Frank McNally (An Irishman’s Diary, September 21st) writes about the tradition of knocking over the two chairs when a coffin is being removed from a house. Years ago, as a young undertaker, I remarked upon the custom and asked several times about its origins but always failed to get a satisfactory answer.

Once at a house, I saw the chairs being kicked over (normally they are turned by hand to protect the good furniture).

When I inquired from the kicker as to why he tossed the chairs like that, his explanation was quite reasonable when you think about it: “So the divil couldn’t sit on them.” – Yours, etc,




Co Leitrim.