Funerals are one of the most delicate moments in all human life. They are a time when family and friends of a deceased gather, not only to comfort each other, but also to say goodbye to a loved one by celebrating their life and reflecting on all the love and memories shared.
The sensitivity surrounding funerals calls for courtesy, kindness, empathy and understanding towards the bereaved and this reflects in speech, dress code, and how we conduct ourselves while attending a funeral. These aspects are part of a broader term, known as funeral etiquette; the customary code of polite behavior among funeral attendees.
Before we delve into some of the integral dos and don'ts of funeral etiquette, it’s important to understand the difference between a funeral and a memorial:
A funeral is a ceremony or service held shortly after a person's death, usually including a final disposition in the form of burial or cremation. When the bereaved plan a funeral service in the UK and USA, where the deceased’s remains are physically present, the ceremony is typically divided into; the visitation, the funeral, the committal service, and the reception.
A memorial, on the other hand, is a service held to pay respect or commemorate a deceased loved one, in the absence of their physical remains. A typical example of a memorial includes services that are held on the annual anniversary of the death of a deceased.
Typically, a memorial service is not a replacement of a funeral. Instead, memorial services help the bereaved to reflect on the life of the deceased and to honor the memories shared with them, long after they’ve transitioned into the afterlife.
It’s important to note that funeral etiquette may vary based on the country of origin, religious affiliation and existing family traditions.
However, the popular dos and don’ts of funeral etiquette for invited guests include;
When making funeral arrangements for a deceased loved one, the bereaved family should consider the following funeral etiquette guide:
The COVID-19 pandemic brought up lots of restrictions, and the mode of spread makes it quite challenging to plan a funeral or grieve the loss of loved ones. According to health experts, the more extended physical interaction lasts, the higher the risks of spread.
Therefore, to help stop the spread of COVID-19, make sure that your funeral arrangements adopt to the following funeral etiquette: