People in Vlkolínec used to stay home when their life was coming to an end and they were too weak to work.
The evening before their death, the sick person was visited by people who came to pray with them. If the children were in a fight with the dying person, they came to make up.
After the dying person’s last breath, the man of the house went to announce the death to the bell ringer, who went to ring the bell right away. Everyone in the village stopped and prayed for the deceased.
Then the house owners called the medical examiner, who officially confirmed the death. Then they covered the mirror in the room and stopped the clock, they dressed the deceased and called a carpenter, who made a coffin. When the coffin was ready, they placed the deceased inside and put the coffin in the centre of the room, surrounded by candlesticks with candles. Next to the coffin, they put a twig from a coniferous tree and a glass with holy water.
The night before the funeral, people came to see the deceased and to pray for him.
On the day of the funeral, the relatives were dressed in black and stopped their work. When the time of the funeral came, they carried the coffin with the deceased in front of the house and put it on a bier. All the citizens came to the house, including the priest. Women were singing: “To a dark and sombre grave I am going, to lie there until my judgement day…”
Then the grieving procession walked to the cemetery. Along the way, the priest was singing psalms and the bells in the church and the belfry were ringing.
At the cemetery, the priest consecrated the pit which had been dug for the grave and he prayed for the deceased. Then, after a short ceremony, the gravediggers lowered the coffin down to the grave while the women cried. When the crying widow said: “I am saying goodbye and alone I stay”, it meant she decided to never marry another man.
After the funeral, there was a wake where all the relatives could get together.