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The Irish practice of watching over the body by candlelight the night before the funeral and the often wild feasting which follows. This may have developed simply because mistakes sometimes happened (cf. the folk-song Finnegan's Wake upon which the James Joyce novel is based). The purpose of the wake, therefore, was to create enough of a clatter to ensure that the deceased was truly dead and to help the mourners forget their grief and resume normal life once they were sure.