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The guide told us, as she pointed out the sometimes-two-story individual burial sites, that families often came to the sites two millenia ago and held picnics or observed holidays on the second floor, wanting to included their dearly departed in the celebrations

The same is true of the catacombs, found all over Rome.

"Why did they have benches lining the walls, what looked like places where you could hold eucharistic assembly? The answer is, they're holding meals for the dead. We know, in fact, from a number of sources, Christian and non-Christian alike, that the funerary meal, a kind of picnic with the dead, was something that most families practiced in the city of Rome."

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