I went to give condolences to a friend over the death of his grandfather yesterday. It was really croweded and as usual most people in the 3aza were talking about the same subject: how much they hate the present Omani way of mourning. It's just too tiresome for everyone, especially the bereaved family.
For those who don't know, in Oman when someone passes away the men from his/her family accept condolences for three days in a mosque from morning till dhuhur prayers and again from asr till maghrib. When you go to pay your respects at the mosque, you enter and shake hands with every single person in the mosque begining with the people closest to the door on your right. If the person who's passed away is well known, well loved or had lots of friends, it means that there would probably be a constant flood of people coming in. As a result the people in the mosque never sit down. They will be standing on their feet for the most part of three days. It doesn't get better if there are less people, because they sit on the ground not on chairs or cushions. And everytime someone enters the mosque everyone gets up again. So the routine is constant sitting and standing till your legs go numb.
Some groups in Oman have it a bit different. For example the shi'a have made the process more efficient. You don't shake hands with everyone in the mosque. You enter the mosque and go straight to the bereaved family and give condolences to them. This system is more efficient for the people going to pay their respect, but it doesn't do anything for the family themselves because they're still constantly having to stand up whenever someone enters the mosque. One thing I like about shi3a mourning is that as soon as you sit down in the mosque someone comes and gives a small section of the Quran to read in respect to the deceased. It's better than sitting around chatting with other people there which seems a little disrespectful to me.
I don't know how it is in other countries, but surely there's got to be a better way. I remember reading about it in a Kuwaiti blog last year and it didn't seem any better than it is here except over there it's usually in a diwania and they sit on chairs instead of the floor. But still there's the same aspect of the bereaved family being on their feet for three days.