Often, when we look for extra meaning in our lives–we return to familiar rituals of earlier generations. This is especially true when we're in emotional turmoil and in need of comfort. Certainly the death of a loved one is such a time, and a traditional funeral can give you and your family the support you need during this difficult time.
What is a Traditional Funeral?
Chances are, you have attended a traditional funeral before. It is not a single event, but rather a series of events: a visitation or viewing; the formal service, and the burial. These events bring the community of friends and family together for mutual support in meaningful and familiar ways.
The visitation is the time prior to the funeral service where extended family and friends come to the funeral home to spend time with the bereaved. It's usually no more than 2-3 hours, and (depending on your desires), the casket can be open or closed during this time.
A viewing is a similar gathering, intended to be a time when the focus is upon the survivors; however, in a viewing, the casket is open, so that those who wish to view their loved one may do so without interruption. Sometimes, the visitation or viewing is held the day before the funeral service, but it's truly up to those making the funeral arrangements to decide what works best for their social network.
A traditional funeral may be held in the funeral home chapel, or at the church where the deceased was an active parishioner during their lifetime. No matter the setting, a traditional funeral service often incorporates religious elements, such as scripture readings, and the communal singing of hymns. However, such religious elements are not a required part of this element within the series.
What helps to define a traditional funeral is the fact that the casket is the centerpiece at the front of the room, surrounded by floral tributes sent by family and friends, some of whom are unable to attend due to distance or illness. The traditional activities within the ceremony–such as the lighting of candles, and the soothing words delivered by the celebrant, minister, or funeral director–also contribute to the comforting familiarity which comes with realized expectations.
Should someone wish to write a eulogy, it will also be delivered at this time. Often, other guests are called to speak about their relationship with the deceased. This time of sharing brings people together in a very meaningful way, and provides insight into the quality of the life which has passed.
If burial is to take place, the casket is taken to the hearse, and a procession takes place where all guests slowly follow the hearse to the cemetery. At this time, a short committal service will occur. Commonly, this is a time where traditional prayers are read. Once complete, guests can gather at a catered funeral reception or informal gathering at the family home.
For more information on traditional funeral arrangements, please call us at (304) 765-5371. We will be pleased to assist you.