Author Topic: Funeral A/B List (Update Post 107)  (Read 7605 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2013, 05:37:18 PM »
I've been to all kinds of, shall we call them 'honoring the dead' events. They vary so much!

The "norm" in my area is there is a "wake" at a funeral home. There are usually 2 wake times (occasionally 3, 1 afternoon, 2 evening), usually the same day - the afternoon wake (about 1-4 pm) and the evening wake (about 6-9 pm). These are what anyone coming to pay their respects would come to. Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Attendance can range for 10 people to 200 people. The casket (or urn) is usually at the front of the room. sometimes its open. People can go up and pay their respects. Throughout the room are flowers, and usually photos of the departed. One sitting might have a bit of a service, or some speakers, but its not required or anything, I'd say its 50/50 to have a service or speakers at a wake. Only close family and close friends would attend both wakes for the whole time. Mostly they are 'drop in' type events. They are not cheerful events, but they aren't overly solemn either - its all milling about and chatting.

During the "break" between wake sittings the close family and friends usually go out to eat or go to a family member's home for a meal. This is not by any means a 'public' meal, this only for the folks who are close enough they'd be there all day.

The next day is the funeral. It might be in a house of worship, or it might be graveside. Funerals themselves are usually only attended by the close family and friends - basically the same group who did the full day of two wakes. 25 people at a funeral is a lot, even if 600 passed through the wake(s). After the funeral, if everyone is close, they might all go for a meal together, or the funeral group will split up into groups to go out (or just go home).

The other norm is a shiva, which is similar to the wake, except its in a family member's home and essentially is a potluck (although many people send catered food, instead of bringing home made). Its people milling about and chatting. It is not the funeral, but it is the event most people would attend to pay their respects. The funeral is a more private affair.

I have attended other 'honoring the dead' events, where there is no wake, its only the church funeral, or memorial events where its sometime after the passing. But the wake which is the most common to me, does not include a meal that is open to all. Even a shiva will have plenty of food, but its not a meal one is invited to, its simply food available as people walk around and chat.

Figgie

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 358
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2013, 05:44:28 PM »
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.


This is what I don't get - a funeral isn't a party or a celebration that you are asking people to come to for your own sake.  If someone comes, it is because the deceased meant enough to them to want to be present and mourn at their burial or they are there to support someone else.  You aren't doing the deceased family who is grieving for their loss some favor by showing up.   

ETA:  in our communities we will usually have some gathering after the burial that includes some snacks, maybe a meal.  I just don't see the serving of refreshments as an obligation or a fairness issue when it comes to holding a funeral service, especially when one can't necessarily control who shows up.

It might be a Midwest thing.  :)  Since it seems to be cultural to feed people at everything around here.  Funerals have meals after them.  The meals are at the church, funeral home  (they are now built or remodeled to have commercial kitchens/eating areas), family home, restaurant or wherever the funeral/memorial service is held.  There are special funeral prices for caterers that the funeral homes give out.

It is very unusual for hospitality not to be offered to people who are kind enough to travel and attend a funeral of a loved one.  Unusual enough, that my husband's aunt is trying to keep the meal that is being offered a secret from the majority of attendees, most of whom will be friends and family of her stepchildren.

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3942
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2013, 05:52:14 PM »
I'm in the Midwest and from a culture that has people practically shoving food down each other's throats  ::)  As a personal opinion, however, I don't think that a family member  of the deceased should be seen as rude for choosing not to host everyone if they don't want to.

Isilleke

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 88
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2013, 05:52:40 PM »
We just buried my grandfather last week and most of the planning was done at my house, so I have seen firsthand how things go here (Europe).

Here it's common to send letters to everyone the close family wants to (so close friends of spouse, children and grandchildren in this case) and everyone who has to have one (his own friends, extended family, his old job etc). There will also be an ad placed in the papers telling people when the funeral will be in case they want to pay their respects.

In this letter may be an invitation to luncheon. In my case this was family and his own close friends only.

So the results for my grandfather (who used to be the head of a school) was that:
1. the church was full. As in, people were standing. Not surprisingly since we sent out 600 letters and he was always very
    beloved at his old school.
2. after the service, only the people who wanted came to the cemetery.
3. at the luncheon were only the once with the invites.

In my grandfathers case we are already with 68 (children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren). I think for the luncheon we were with about 150 (of which maybe 10 people weren't family).

This is very normal here.
Everyone is allowed to come to the service if they want to, but only the people who are invited can come to the luncheon. (Which consists of sandwiches etc). No one considers this rude, since it is the norm here.


So for me personally what you described seemed very normal, but I expect it depends on where you live and what the traditions are.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21245
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2013, 05:56:22 PM »
It is interesting how things differ.  Like I said, the norm here is for everyone to be welcome at the dinner.  That being said, if there was a funeral with 600 people attending the church would have 300 people calling to offer food for the luncheon.  That would probably include cheerful donations for ham, lunch meats, etc.

Figgie

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 358
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2013, 05:58:01 PM »
My experience is very similar to Sharnita's experience.  I'm really glad I posted this, because it is very interesting reading about the different funeral customs and how different the etiquette can be depending on where you live.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2013, 06:07:17 PM »
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.


This is what I don't get - a funeral isn't a party or a celebration that you are asking people to come to for your own sake.  If someone comes, it is because the deceased meant enough to them to want to be present and mourn at their burial or they are there to support someone else.  You aren't doing the deceased family who is grieving for their loss some favor by showing up.   

ETA:  in our communities we will usually have some gathering after the burial that includes some snacks, maybe a meal.  I just don't see the serving of refreshments as an obligation or a fairness issue when it comes to holding a funeral service, especially when one can't necessarily control who shows up.

It might be a Midwest thing.  :)  Since it seems to be cultural to feed people at everything around here.  Funerals have meals after them.  The meals are at the church, funeral home  (they are now built or remodeled to have commercial kitchens/eating areas), family home, restaurant or wherever the funeral/memorial service is held.  There are special funeral prices for caterers that the funeral homes give out.

It is very unusual for hospitality not to be offered to people who are kind enough to travel and attend a funeral of a loved one.  Unusual enough, that my husband's aunt is trying to keep the meal that is being offered a secret from the majority of attendees, most of whom will be friends and family of her stepchildren.

I have never heard of until these boards, people eating at a funeral home. In fact I don't even think its legal in my state (every funeral home I've ever been in - and I've been to at least 2 dozen wakes in my life) has a sign "no food or beverage my be brought in or consumed". I presume the staff may eat in their offices or maybe there is a staff room, but even that I'm not sure of. I have never known a funeral home to have catering room or eating area.

In fact this NYTimes article confirms, its against the law here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/10/dining/10fune.html?oref=login
Quote
...the New York state law prohibiting the "preparation, sale, service, or distribution of food or beverages in any part of a funeral establishment to or by friends, relatives, mourners, family, visitors or next of kin of any deceased person."

So to anyone from NY, the whole idea of "invite everyone to eat" is going to be a very different situation, as it means securing a location for everyone, as well as paying for or coordinating the foodstuffs.

Rosewater

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1468
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2013, 06:09:19 PM »
There is no A or B list because this is not a social event but rather family members getting together after services to get a bite to eat.  From my experience this is a really common occurrence.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8344
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2013, 06:12:56 PM »
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.


This is what I don't get - a funeral isn't a party or a celebration that you are asking people to come to for your own sake.  If someone comes, it is because the deceased meant enough to them to want to be present and mourn at their burial or they are there to support someone else.  You aren't doing the deceased family who is grieving for their loss some favor by showing up.   

ETA:  in our communities we will usually have some gathering after the burial that includes some snacks, maybe a meal.  I just don't see the serving of refreshments as an obligation or a fairness issue when it comes to holding a funeral service, especially when one can't necessarily control who shows up.

It might be a Midwest thing.  :)  Since it seems to be cultural to feed people at everything around here.  Funerals have meals after them.  The meals are at the church, funeral home  (they are now built or remodeled to have commercial kitchens/eating areas), family home, restaurant or wherever the funeral/memorial service is held.  There are special funeral prices for caterers that the funeral homes give out.

It is very unusual for hospitality not to be offered to people who are kind enough to travel and attend a funeral of a loved one.  Unusual enough, that my husband's aunt is trying to keep the meal that is being offered a secret from the majority of attendees, most of whom will be friends and family of her stepchildren.

I have never heard of until these boards, people eating at a funeral home. In fact I don't even think its legal in my state (every funeral home I've ever been in - and I've been to at least 2 dozen wakes in my life) has a sign "no food or beverage my be brought in or consumed". I presume the staff may eat in their offices or maybe there is a staff room, but even that I'm not sure of. I have never known a funeral home to have catering room or eating area.

What I've experienced in the actual funeral home is a sort of "break room" where the immediate family can go periodically throughout the day. The funeral home may provide things like donuts from a nearby supermarket, canned soda, that sort of thing (i.e. it's not made on site). And it's just for the inner circle; the funeral director will show them where it is ahead of time and you can go there both for a food boost during the day or just to escape the crowd for a little while.

As for the meal afterward, I don't think I've ever even heard about a restaurant meal unless I was part of the inner circle. Either there's something that only the immediate family know about (and I have been to some of these) or there's a church-basement sort of thing being put on by a whole church. I wouldn't expect the bereaved family themselves to "host" me in any real sense.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21245
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2013, 06:16:21 PM »
I've exprienced the family hosting people at the restaurant when it is a small, graveside service type of thing.

Isilleke

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 88
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2013, 06:23:19 PM »
That would explain the big difference, seeing as how here the luncheon is always in a restaurant.


Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21245
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2013, 06:25:31 PM »
We use churches, VFW Halls, etc.

mime

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 403
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2013, 06:38:56 PM »
It is very interesting to read about the different traditions...

I'm also in the Midwest, and I cannot remember attending any funeral here that did not include a meal immediately following the service, in the same building. The meal may be very simple, but it is always provided, and not usually by the family.

My childhood church believes that providing a meal is an act of kindness or service they do for the grieving attendees. The same is true of DH's childhood church, and many others I know of, spanning several denominations of my own faith, and that of another faith. This seems to be the norm where I am.

I'm sure it is hard to know how many attendees to anticipate. Sometimes I am impressed that the 'church ladies' magically make it work every time.  :D

The other common traditions here are less likely to come with a meal-- burials often only involve close family, and if the wake is on a separate day from the funeral, it is more of an open-house with no food. That's where I see smaller family-groups of maybe 6-12 people deciding in the moment to get some dinner before going their separate ways.


Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21245
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2013, 06:44:04 PM »
It is very interesting to read about the different traditions...

I'm also in the Midwest, and I cannot remember attending any funeral here that did not include a meal immediately following the service, in the same building. The meal may be very simple, but it is always provided, and not usually by the family.


I'm sure it is hard to know how many attendees to anticipate. Sometimes I am impressed that the 'church ladies' magically make it work every time.  :D

The other common traditions here are less likely to come with a meal-- burials often only involve close family, and if the wake is on a separate day from the funeral, it is more of an open-house with no food. That's where I see smaller family-groups of maybe 6-12 people deciding in the moment to get some dinner before going their separate ways.

Yeah, conversely, even when you are part of the grieveing family it is an act of community to share the meal with the other people who were at the funeral. 

mich3554

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1212
Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2013, 06:47:48 PM »
I don't see it as an A/B list.  When my SO's stepfather died last year, there were over 150 people at his memorial service.  Only family and very close friends (about 30 or so in total) were invited back to the house for a meal.

There was coffee and pastries after the service though.

When my mom died, there were probably 50 or so at her service.  We had no refreshments afterwards, but a small reception only for close family at my cousin's home.