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“Like a Trace”: The Spontaneous Shrine as a Cultural Expression of Grief

  • Hege Westgaard

Abstract

In Norway, as in many other places in the world, we have become used to seeing flowers and lit candles on places where people have lost their lives in accidents or where other tragic deaths have occurred. Sometimes small notes, letters, or even objects which can be related to what has happened, are placed among the candles. Especially when children die, we can observe toys, teddy bears, and other plush animals among the flowers and candles. The spontaneous shrines are simple but moving demonstrations that express compassion and participation in connection with tragic deaths. The acts are strongly symbolic and the candles and flowers clearly convey that this is a place where someone has been killed in an accident.1

Keywords

Dead Body Cultural Expression Good Death Existential Meaning Teddy Bear 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Jack Santino 2006

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  • Hege Westgaard

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