What usually happens at a funeral? This is a question that often crosses people’s minds when they are notified of a death in their family or social circle. Funerals can be confusing and mysterious events for some, so it’s natural to want to know what to expect. There are many customs and traditions along with funerals that we’ll cover in this article, as well as the traditional funeral process.
An Overview: What Is A Funeral
A funeral is a gathering to commemorate the life of a person who has died. It is typically a somber occasion, marked by speeches, prayers, and ritualistic ceremonies. Funerals are usually open to the public, and friends and family members often travel from far and wide to attend. The body of the deceased is typically present at the funeral, either in an open casket or in a closed casket.
Burial or cremation commonly follows a funeral. Depending on local norms, a funeral may be placed immediately or weeks, or months later. Regardless of the date, a funeral allows mourners to honor the deceased’s life and support one another during this terrible time.
What Usually Happens At A Funeral
The following is an outline of the events that take place during a traditional funeral (however a family may opt-out of attending some or all of these services):
A Wake Or Visitation
When a loved one passes away, it can be difficult to know how to honor their memory. For many people, hosting a wake or visitation is the perfect way to do this. However, organizing such an event can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips to help make the process smoother.
- First, it’s important to choose the right venue. The venue should be large enough to accommodate all of the guests, but not so large that it feels cold and impersonal. Everyone should be able to get along with it. If possible, try to choose a venue that has special meaning to the deceased or their family.
- Next, you’ll need to decide on the format of the event. Will it be a traditional funeral service, or something more informal? Will there be readings, eulogies, or music? Once you’ve decided on the format, you can begin planning the details.
- Finally, don’t forget to take care of the practicalities. Make sure you have enough chairs and that there is adequate parking available. You’ll also need to arrange for refreshments and any other necessary amenities.
A funeral service is one way to remember a loved one. It is possible to have a funeral service in the funeral home, in a church, or any other location.
Following the funeral service, many people choose to be buried or cremated. Some people want their loved one’s body present, while others prefer an urn or portrait. Whatever sort of funeral ceremony you select, it can be a meaningful way to say goodbye.
If you are planning a funeral service, there are a few things you can do to make it a memorable and meaningful event.
- First, customize the service. Pick readings, music, and other aspects that reflect the individual being honored. You can also compose your eulogy or ask relatives and friends to share memories.
- Consider also involving the community. Instead of flowers, you may conduct a fundraiser or ask guests to donate to the deceased’s preferred charity.
For many people, the committal is the most important part of the funeral service. During the committal, the body of the deceased is committed to its final resting place.
According to the family’s desires, this can be done in several ways. It is the most typical practice to bury the casket in a vault or grave liner first. As an alternative, the body can be buried without a casket, and the burial can be dug without it.
Often, prayer or reading precedes the burial. The committal, in any form, is an important element of the funeral service and gives closure to the mourning.
After the funeral service, most families opt to have a reception. This gives everyone a chance to gather together, share memories and support one another. The reception is usually held at the same venue as the service, such as a church hall or funeral home.
If the weather is good, it may be held outdoors. It typically lasts for around two hours and is typically served with refreshments and light snacks. In some cases, the body of the deceased may be present at the reception, although this is not always the case.
The reception provides a chance for people to say their final goodbye in a more informal setting. It also gives people an opportunity to catch up with old friends and relatives who they may not have seen in a long time.
What Is a Traditional Funeral Service Order?
Traditionally, funeral services follow a similar format. When you arrive at the funeral, you may witness a program that details the service’s chronology.
Below is an example of a traditional funeral service order of service. The family can arrange or omit any of these pieces as they like.
- As people enter, a funeral song plays.
- The service leader welcomes and introduces guests. This could be a funeral director or a priest.
- Prayers and scripture readings are common features of traditional religious funeral rituals led by religious clergy.
- The conductor of the service reads a brief obituary from the family.
- Written eulogies or tributes are read aloud by members of the congregation before they are called to the podium. Before the funeral, these speakers are contacted and asked if they’d like to give a speech.
- When it comes time for the short eulogy or homage to the deceased, attendees are asked to step forward.
- The celebrant or a member of the family will express gratitude to the visitors for coming.
- While a formal viewing may have occurred, traditional funeral services often involve a second viewing after the service. Attendees line up to inspect the casket one by one.
- The service leader will conclude by announcing the reception location. A religious leader may end with a blessing.
A funeral provides closure and helps lessen the agony of loss in many cultures. This can be upsetting and unpleasant for people who have never experienced a death in the family. It’s common for people to feel overwhelmed by others’ emotions.
Attending a funeral can provide solace by allowing mourners to express their feelings and receive support. In the end, there is no right or wrong way to mourn.