The ceremony begins with a mass and a reading from the Bible of the Passion of Christ. When the funeral procession is mentioned, the congregation exits the church to begin their procession through the streets of the old hilltop town. The parade is led by a penitent in a black gown, wearing a black hood and carrying a large cross. A young girl portraying the Virgin Mary follows. Mourners are clothed and veiled in black come next. Some of them carry the symbols resting on scarlet cushions. They include: a crown of thorns, a whip, nails, a hammer, tongs, and St. Veronica‘s shroud.
The French love dialogue. They also love a good argument and sometimes indulge in it just for fun. They don’t need to have strong feelings on a subject in fact virulent emotion in such arguments is frowned upon. Think of it more like intellectual debate.
People watch television news programs to see such debate. These French talk shows almost always have 4 or more people in the discussion. More discussion, less point/counter point. In their minds, how can you have a meaningful discussion without fewer people?
In France (not in private Switzerland) such debate isn’t just left to television, intense discussion of politics, religion and current events occur during regularly, even during casual social encounters. Be prepared to participate, but don’t be as emotional as they are on the Sunday morning round tables. You’re expected to express and intellectual analysis, but not attempt to convert others to your way of thinking or get hot under the collar. Sometimes, this is easier said than done.
P.S. If I could talk in French without a horrible American accent, I would never shut up. Except perhaps to listen to other people say beautiful things in French. Oui, mon amour.