"Forty Days" Ceremony in Carribean?


A relative of mine by marriage, and friend, is from Trinidad. Her mother died recently and my friend was not able to be there for the funeral, which she helped pay for, along with her sister in this country and her brother there.

Now Trinidadian relatives have called asking them (the three siblings, none of whom are available to attend) to pay for the “Forty Day Ceremony”. My relative, growing up there, had no one die and had not ever heard of this. Apparently it is a ceremony they always have 40 days after death to help the wandering soul onto the next life(???) I said, “That doesn’t sound Catholic” but she said that they said a priest told them aobut it.

We don’t know how much is misinformation. Has anyone ever heard of this ceremony, and does anyone know what it is about?



Do they mean help the soul from Purgatory into Heaven? That can often be seen as similar to the 40 days of penance in the desert or the 40 years of Israel in the desert before entering the promised land.


It sounds to me like it might be to get the soul off of earth! We wer hoping for some solid answer about what this “forty day” ceremony is that the relatives think is needed.


It’s definitely not Catholic.

It may be Shango an African cults brought to the Carribean by slaves. Or it could be Santeria, another cult.

Or, it could be relatives trying to get money out of those they perceive to have more than them-- Americans.

Either way, I would not give them any money. She can have masses said for her mother’s soul right here in the US where she KNOWS what the money is being used for.


Thanks for the replies. I suggested to my friend to call the pastor there (found the number on the internet), who said when he does it it is just as a comfort for the family, a Trinidadian custom. (I do think perhaps the roots may be from one of those places mentioned, or Islam or Hindu). Thank you!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.