A memorial service, often called a funeral and often officiated by clergy from the deceased's or bereaved’s church or religion. A funeral may take place at either a funeral home or church. A funeral is usually held three to five days after the death of the deceased. Some people consider it important to conduct the funeral exactly three days after the death.
The deceased is usually transported from the funeral home to a church in a hearse, a specialized vehicle designed to carry casketed remains. The deceased most often transported in a procession, with the hearse, funeral service vehicles, and private automobiles traveling in a procession to the church or other location where the services will be held. In a number of jurisdictions, special laws cover funeral processions - such as requiring other vehicles to give right-of-way to a funeral procession. Funeral service vehicles may be equipped with light bars and special flashers to increase their visibility on the roads.
After the funeral service, if the deceased is to be buried the funeral procession will proceed to a cemetery if not already there. If the deceased is to be cremated the funeral procession may then proceed to the crematory.
Funeral services include prayers; readings from the Bible or other sacred texts; hymns (sung either by the attendees or a hired vocalist); and words of comfort by the clergy. Frequently, a relative or close friend will be asked to give a eulogy, which details happy memories and accomplishments; often commenting on the deceased's flaws, especially at length, is considered impolite. Sometimes the clergy does the delivering of the eulogy. Clergy are often asked to deliver eulogies for people they have never met.
Tradition also allows the attendees of the memorial service to have one last opportunity to view the decedent's body and say good-bye; the immediate family (siblings (and their spouses); followed by the decedent's spouse, parents and children) are always the very last to view their loved one before the coffin is closed. This opportunity can take place immediately before the service begins, or at the very end of the service.
During the funeral and at the burial service, the casket may be covered with a large arrangement of flowers, called a casket spray. If the decedent served in a branch of the Armed forces, the casket may be covered with a national flag; however nothing should cover the national flag.
Funeral customs vary from country to country. In the United States, any type of noise other than quiet whispering or mourning is considered disrespectful.
Note: In some religious denominations, for example, Roman Catholic and Anglican, eulogies are prohibited or discouraged during this service, in order to preserve respect for traditions. Also, for these religions, the coffin is traditionally closed at the end of the wake and is not re-opened for the funeral service.
Unique Funeral Services
New Orleans Jazz Funeral
A unique funeral tradition in the United States occurs in New Orleans, Louisiana. The unique tradition arises from African spiritual practices, French martial musical traditions and uniquely African-American cultural influences. A typical jazz funeral begins with a march by the family, friends, and a jazz band from the home, funeral home or church to the cemetery. Throughout the march, the band plays very somber dirges. Once the final ceremony has taken place, the march proceeds from the cemetery to a gathering place, and the solemn music is replaced by loud, upbeat, raucous music and dancing where onlookers join in to celebrate the life of the deceased. This is the origin of the New Orleans dance known as the "second line" where celebrants do a dance-march, frequently while raising the hats and umbrellas brought along as protection from intense New Orleans weather and waving handkerchiefs above the head that are no longer being used to wipe away tears.
Those with concerns about the effects on the environment of traditional burial or cremation may choose to be buried in a fashion more suited to their beliefs. They may choose to be buried in a coffin made of cardboard or other easily-biodegradable materials. Further, they may choose their final resting place to be in a park or woodland, known as an eco-cemetery, and may have a tree planted over their grave as a contribution to the environment and a remembrance.
Internet Visitation & Funeral
A Funeral Home in North Syracuse, New York was the first funeral home to offer and broadcast a visitation and funeral "live" on the Internet. A Funeral Director at the Home said "It's not new technology, just a new application." The use of a web-camera allows relatives who could not otherwise attend services to do so from any computer. Family members and friends separated by distance, weather or circumstance can now become part of the support network by being connected electronically to the ceremonies.
A Traditional Fire Department funeral consists of two raised aerial ladders. The firefighter(s) travel under the aerials on their ride on the fire apparatus to the cemetery.
1984 Chain Bridge Road
McLean, VA 22102
1984 Chain Bridge Road
McLean, VA 22102