“You’ll be late for your own funeral” is an expression traditionally directed at the chronically laid-back.
But a Brazilian man arrived half way through his own send-off on Monday – after distressed relatives had wrongly identified him as the victim of a car accident the day before.
It is customary in Brazil for funerals to be held the day after death which by coincidence was the holiday of Finados, when people visit cemeteries to honour the departed.
Shocked relatives were unaware that bricklayer Ademir Jorge Goncalves, 59, had spent the night at a truck stop talking with friends and drinking a sugarcane liquor known as cachaca.
Mr Goncalves had no idea it was the day of his funeral until the service was already underway. He then rushed to the church in the town of Santo Antonio da Platina to let his family known he was alive, according to a police spokesman.
“The corpse was badly disfigured, but dressed in similar clothing,” said the spokesman. “People are afraid to look for very long when they identify bodies, and I think that is what happened in this case.”
Mr Goncalves’ niece, Rosa Sampaio, said some family members had been skeptical about the body’s identity.
“My two uncles and I had doubts about the identification,” she said. “But an aunt and four of his friends identified the body, so what were we to do? We went ahead with the funeral.”
The police spokesman added: “His mother looked at the body in the casket and thought something was strange. She looked and looked and couldn’t believe it was her son.
“Before long, the walking dead appeared at the funeral. It was a relief.”
The crash victim was correctly identified later on Monday.