The Corpse Bride

Sin Eaters performed a ceremony wherein they took on the sins that the deceased performed — sins that went unforgiven or without confession prior to death. People typically hired a Sin Eater in situations where the deceased died unexpectedly.

By consuming bread and a drink (usually wine or beer) placed on, or ritually waved over, the dead body, onlookers believed the dead person’s sins were digested by the eater after he or she consumed this beggar’s feast. The act appears to be confined to 18th and 19th Century Europe, with no accounts of necro-cannibalism noted.

In time, the practice expanded in popularity, so that Sin Eaters also attended to people who had just died of natural causes — because people believed the ritual could help prevent the dead from wandering the countryside after death. -Keith Veronese –Keith Veronese


Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or poem with a sin eater as a protagonist.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the oldest tradition your family still practices.

Art Prompt: Sin Eater

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Research a strange custom and tell your audience about it.

Photo Credit: Mikamatto on Flickr

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