Author Topic: Funerals  (Read 4724 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21343
Re: Funerals
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2011, 02:13:17 PM »
It's a cavalry tradition, I believe. The only time I can recall seeing it was for JFK's funeral.

(That's the only thing I CAN remember of that event. I was very young, and the horse caught my attention.)

ETA: Wikipedia to the explanation here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riderless_horse. It's for military officers, not just people who like riding. The boots facing backwards are to represent "the leader looking back at his troops for the last time".

Didn't they do it for Reagan too?

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28244
Re: Funerals
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2011, 04:32:28 PM »
Apparently, but I didn't watch that funeral. It appears it can at least be done for any US President.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Anyanka

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 140
Re: Funerals
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2011, 11:46:34 PM »

I'm fascinated by the idea of visiting / viewing as that's alien to me, so is having an open casket.  I've never known anyone have any form of visiting.  I come from the north of England. 

I'm a Monkeyhanger and we've had visting to the funeral home for all of my (dead) family.

Quote
For Grandmother's funeral we had a service at the church by the vicar, two hymns and readings by her grandchildren (one bible and two poems).  Most of the local area attended.  The family then went to the crematorium for the cremation.  While we were there the caterers laid out the funeral tea in the church hall.  We went back to the hall after the cremation and mingled, greeted people etc.

We then went back to the house with the family and very close friends and drank rather a lot of brandy and reminisced about her. 

For all of my religous family it was a full service, Book of Common Prayer. hymn, reading, prayers,  sermon, personal remonision by lay preacher, hymn, prayer hymn and processional out of church. Car ride to cemtery/crem where there's more prayers . Then normally back to the family dwelling where alcohol may or may not be served.




Quote
In my experience in the UK some people skip the part in the church and have the whole service at the crematorium.  There's usually a funeral tea afterwards (cake, sandwiches and tea and coffee) either in a church hall, a function room or someone's house depending on individual preference and financial constraints.  Regardless of the time of day at which it's served, it's always called a funeral tea in my family.

I've been involved in the crem services for both Christain and non religous people. Christain services tended to go for prayers and hymns, while my non-religous mourners went for more secular readings and music.
Even Vengence Demons have feelings

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12225
Re: Funerals
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2011, 12:00:21 AM »
Mom's funeral

Her siblings (from PEI, Canada) were shocked we didn't have a receiving line at the wake.  The Texans atttending would have been completely confused. We also didn't have a full Rosery on the Deacon's advise because the only Catholics attending were Sis, Me, 3 Aunts, 3 Uncles, 5 of Dad's Cousins, and a few friends. The other 40 some people ran the gamut of religions in the US. Our Aunts and Uncles were surprised that the majority of the people at a Catholic Funeral and wake would not be Catholic.


I'm in Western Canada, and I'd say that viewings are pretty uncommon here.  I don't mean just my own experience - but when scanning the obituaries I'd say that perhaps 10% mention viewings, and they seem to be those that are attached to a Catholic service a day or two later.

Cremation is much more common than burial here.  I've actually only been to one "funeral" in my life where the casket was present, and even then it was followed by cremation.  Every other service has been a memorial-service only, usually accompanied by photographs and other mementos of the deceased.  I've never been to an open casket funeral/viewing in my life and I'm in my mid 50s.

I think a lot of this is definitely regional.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21343
Re: Funerals
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2011, 01:17:14 AM »
Just to complicate it for people who are unfamiliar with these traditions - you can have visitations with or without viewings, though some people seem to use the term interchangeabl.

In many cases even with cremation there is a burial service of some sort, even if it is brief.  It might be in the place of a memorial service, it might be along with the memorial service, it might be at a completely different time and/or place.  If you bury cremated remains in a cemetary, at least around here, ou still have to pay for a vault, opening and closing of the grave and a few other things.

I lived in the Upper Peninsula for a while where they have lon, cold winters. Depending on when you die the ground may be frozen and digging a grave could be problematic so many people who die in winter might go in a mausoleum until it gets warmer at which point they are buried.

Ligeia

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 328
Re: Funerals
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2011, 03:13:24 AM »
Yeah, as someone else said, funerals vary so widely in the US, with so many different religions, ethnicities, and regional customs. It just occurred to me that I've never been to a funeral in a church or other religious site--only funeral homes. My family is pretty irreligious, but I seem to recall some of these funerals for friends and acquaintances having a few religious overtones, though I guess they were largely secular funerals.  Many of them have included playing the deceased's favorite song, almost always a popular, secular tune. 

Around here--the US South, a suburb of a major city--there don't seem to be *any* open church graveyards any more; as camlan said, they've long since filled up.  Out in very rural areas you might find old churches with little graveyards that are still open, but everywhere else there are usually several city cemeteries open to everyone. Thus every funeral I've attended has included a long procession to the cemetery, usually with a police escort (to keep the procession together and allow it to run red lights, I presume.)

I've only ever heard the pre-funeral visit--usually held the day or night before the funeral--called "visitation," not "viewing."  But yes, it's very common, as are open caskets. (Though visitation, here at least, is more about visiting with the relatives than 'sitting up with' or even viewing the body.)  Personally, I don't like open caskets at all; I hate to see someone I cared about in a casket, looking--despite the best efforts of the mortician--quite dead. 

I think I'd really like to see a more symbol or ritual-laden funeral, and I think they're common here, too; I've simply never attended one. 
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 03:32:35 AM by Ligeia »

Missyanthrope

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 54
Re: Funerals
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2011, 05:35:21 PM »
I find it so fascinating to read the different traditions and customs. 

Here in Utah, where the population is predominantly LDS there is a pretty set script that funerals seem to follow.  Most often the funeral happens within a week of the passing.  Usually there are visiting hours the night before the service itself, and this usually occurs at the deceased's local church, in an auxiliary room but NEVER the chapel. 

The decedent is brought by the funeral home to the church for the viewing, removed, and returned the next day for the service.  A few times I have seen the viewing happen at the funeral home and the funeral at the church, but this is rare.  Usually right before the service it is the families viewing time, and only family comes together to mourn.  There is usually a family prayer, the casket is closed and sealed at this time, and is wheeled into the chapel, where the service begins.  There are usually a few speakers, some music, but it doesn't seem there is a set script.  I have seen everything from the only speaker being the bishop (leader) of the local church branch to almost 10 children and grandchildren all giving small talks on the deceased.  The music may be just a piano or organ piece, or more elaborate such as a choral piece.  An opening and closing prayer are said for the service, and there is usually someone in charge of it, such as the bishop or other person selected by the family.

Once the service is over the selected pallbearers take the casket and flowers to the waiting hearse and cars while everyone stands and waits.  Only once the casket has left the chapel does anyone leave for their own car.  There is a funeral procession to the local cemetery with lights on, but here you must still obey the traffic laws and stop when required to do so by lights and such.  At the cemetery the casket is removed and placed by the pallbearers and recovered in its flower drape.  There is usually a small open tent set up with chairs up front for family who needs them, and everyone else simply stands around the area.  A prayer is usually said, and sometimes a small talk.  Then everyone takes a few moments to hug and talk, and the procession reverses itself back to the church.

Here is where LDS culture really shows itself.  :)  At the church the LDS equivalent of the Ladies Auxiliary (called the Relief Society) usually has a meal set up in the gymnasium area for friends and family.  Now this is where LDS culture really shows itself, because in 99% of funerals you will find the same exact food served.  It will most always be Ham, Green Salad, "Funeral Potatoes", rolls, and various sliced cakes for dessert.  Sometimes yes, there is the infamous jello too.  This food is all made my volunteers from that church branch and brought in for the family.  At no time does the family have to provide anything for the meal.

And what, may you ask are "Funeral Potatoes"?  I know they have other names but around here that is what they are called.  Here is just one version:  http://www.food.com/recipe/funeral-potatoes-55389

Ligeia

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 328
Re: Funerals
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2011, 11:48:41 PM »
And what, may you ask are "Funeral Potatoes"?  I know they have other names but around here that is what they are called.  Here is just one version:  http://www.food.com/recipe/funeral-potatoes-55389

Hey--aside from the cornflakes, that's a recipe for Cheese Hashbrowns! (aka Hashbrown Casserole.)  My mother makes them sometimes, and they're popular at Cracker Barrel (are there Cracker Barrels in Utah?)  I'm going to call them Funeral Potatoes from now on, as that's a fantastic name. 
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 08:47:55 PM by Ligeia »

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6593
Re: Funerals
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2011, 11:53:48 AM »
Irish/German Catholic traditions from Lower New York State in the mid 20th century.

When I attended my first funerals and wakes, the deceased was laid out in the home in which s/he had lived.  Later, it was considered too stressful for those still living in the house and the wake was held at a funeral home. 

Wakes usually lasted a day and a half.  Once the body was properly prepared and placed in the coffin, there would be visiting hours that evening.  The first night was almost always just family and close friends.  There would also be visiting hours the afternoon before the funeral. 

The big deal was the evening visiting hours on the evening before the funeral.  That was when the priest came in to lead the mourners in the rosary.  If the deceased was a well-respected member of the community, things could get crowded. 

There might be a visit from the Knights of Columbus with the local church Altar and Rosary Society.  It was also likely that a delegation from the Volunteer Fire Department and the Volunteer Ambulance Corps would appear.  Local police officers and members of the State Police would show. 

On the morning of the funeral, only close family and friends would be present at the funeral home for a 'final good-bye' before the closing of the coffin.  Everyone else was already at the church. 

The hearse arrived with the flower car and the Mass began.  Knights of Columbus in full regalia might march up the aisle behind the coffin.  Family members were already in their seats.

After the service, something happened that I've never heard happening elsewhere.  The cemetery was only about a mile away from the church but it was a custom that the route from the church to the cemetery would include a brief stop at every house in which the deceased had lived.  In the generation of my Grandparents or Parents people stayed in the same area so this 'tour' took only about a half-hour. 

At the cemetery, the coffin and the flowers were removed to the grave site while the mourners remained in their cars.  Things had to look nice before we got there.  The grave had been dug and the coffin was placed over it on a device that would lower it into the ground.  There were chairs nicely arranged on artificial grass. 

Sometimes, flowers were provided for family members and close friends to place on the coffin.  A few prayers were said.  If the deceased was a veteran, Taps would be blown by a local boy scout. 

Everyone left before the coffin was lowered into the ground.     

             

JoyinVirginia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6018
Re: Funerals
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2011, 12:03:53 PM »
This is just fascinating! Here are things from funerals I have attended, all being held in central/ southeast Virginia, mostly rural, most of the deceased being Baptist or Methodist. My SIL's mother was born in Greece and her funeral was unique in that the local Greek Orthodox priest and the Southern Baptist minister jointly did the funeral service for her. I had never seen a censer - senser? - being used before, the Greek orthodox priest walked around with that as part of the service.

Depending on whether the deceased was active in a church or not, and number of mourners expected, are factors in whether the family has visitation and service at a funeral home (usual for those without a church home) or at the church they belonged to. In my experience, usually the visitation with the family/ mourners is held at the funeral home in the late afternoon and/ or evening, and the actual funeral service is held at the church, followed by the burial at nearby cemetary, followed by a dinner at the church hall. In the small rural community where I grew up, there would be a small brown paper bag - yes a paper bag! - put on the counter at the local grocery store with "Donations for Ham for Smith family" written on it. People would put money in the bag, and then it would be given to the ladies of the church kitchen committee who came to get the ham - or chicken, or whatever - to prepare for the meal after the service. Any money left over was given to the family. This was done when my dad died, and I used the left over money they gave us - about $15 I think - for stamps and stationery for the thank-you notes.

In the Southern Baptist and Methodist churches I have attended, the meal after the service is JUST as important as the service itself, all the ladies (mostly ladies, some men) of the church bring a dish and there is a huge spread in the church hall. Everyone who attended the service is welcome. The kitchen committee of the church keep the food coming out, the iced tea (gotta have ICE TEA, and nowadays you see just as much unsweet tea as sweet tea) plentiful, if there are younger children or babies they get passed around or run around to visit with all the extended relatives and neighbors. Ham, fried chicken, meatloaf, homemade yeast rolls, lots of different vegetables, usually 2 or 3 different kinds of jello salads, and lots of cakes and pies for dessert. When my dad died, the meal was legendary, we had someone bring pecan pie, and chocolate pie, and 2 different pound cakes - it was an impressive feast!
At cousin Jimmy's funeral last month, the visitation and funeral were at the funeral home, since their church had no air conditioning and it was 100 degrees. The burial was at his church cemetary, near his parents graves. The dinner afterward was at a neighbor church just down the road a piece and the ladies of THAT church were busy in the kitchen managing all the donations of food from cousin Jimmy's home church AND the hosting church.
At DH's Great-Aunt Lena's funeral, HER church had just started vacation bible school and the church hall was all decorated so we did not have the meal there. Instead, all the church folks got the food to Aunt Lena's old home, which is a BIG house with big wrap-around porch typical in old southern homes - and everyone who wanted to eat went over there and enjoyed themselves with a great meal and sharing memories.
There is usually not a formal receiving line for the bereaved, instead folks will come up to speak to them at the visitation or at the dinner.
People don't have to go to all the events. Some people only go to the visitation, esp if they have to work during the day and can't take off. The funeral takes place during the day, some families try to have it on the weekend esp if they have lots of family that otherwise can't take off work or that have to travel to get to funeral.

Oh, the service - usually the family sits up front together, and close friends too. There will be organ or piano music, sometimes the congregation sings a hymn if it is in church or there is a soloist or choir that will do a religious song, sometimes a favorite song of the deceased. Prayers, bible reading, then the minister will speak. Sometimes close friends or family will get up and say some things. Then off to the burial, where there are just a few chairs, usually the immediate family sits and some older relatives or older attendees will sit. People who have trouble walking will usually not go to the burial, esp if there is a ways to walk from road to burial site. My dad belonged to the Masons, and the Masonic service part took place at the graveside.
The dirt will be covered by artificial grass carpet, and actual burial takes place after everyone leaves.

My dad's funeral was sad, of course, because he was deceased. It was also a GOOD gathering, and fun in a way, because we got to see so many family members and everyone had a good time laughing and talking about their memories of my dad. And my kids were smaller and folks enjoyed seeing them.
I have also seen some folks call the service a "Homegoing Service" instead of a funeral - because the person is going o their "Heavenly Home".

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6593
Re: Funerals
« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2011, 10:03:57 AM »
It is interesting to read all these posts. 

It is especially interesting to see the use of the word 'visitation'.  In my experience, you receive a visitation from OSHA or the Board of Trustees when something is considered wrong.  When someone has died, people go to a 'viewing'.  That doesn't sound great but that's the term used.

When FIL died, he was cremated.  However, there was a memorial service at a local church.  It was a simple but friendly occasion with a few prayers and short speeches by anyone who wanted to say nice things about the deceased. 

FIL wanted his ashes strewn at the top of a ski slope he loved.  Doing so wasn't quite legal but we managed it on his birthday.  Conveniently, that was in July. 

After the strewing we went to a restaurant he particularly enjoyed and ate his favorite dishes.  It was our own memorial to FIL and everyone concerned thought it was proper.

lady_disdain

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5728
    • Contemporary Jewelry
Re: Funerals
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2011, 09:24:03 AM »
I find the American funeral procession very interesting. Probably because it doesn't exist here. The cemeteries here all have facilities for holding the wake and funeral: viewing rooms, chapels, etc, which, in the US, would happen in the funeral home (I believe - we don't have them here). From there, the coffin is carried directly to the grave, without need for a car.

Since my grandmother died at home, we bent all the rules possible (ok, it was downright illegal, we should have had her body removed immediately after death) and held her wake and funeral mass at her home. Since the attending doctor was family and the priest was a very long time family friend, we just went on with it and notified the authorities later. I believe her death certificate reflects this, but I never checked.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21343
Re: Funerals
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2011, 09:31:09 AM »
I find the American funeral procession very interesting. Probably because it doesn't exist here. The cemeteries here all have facilities for holding the wake and funeral: viewing rooms, chapels, etc, which, in the US, would happen in the funeral home (I believe - we don't have them here). From there, the coffin is carried directly to the grave, without need for a car.

Since my grandmother died at home, we bent all the rules possible (ok, it was downright illegal, we should have had her body removed immediately after death) and held her wake and funeral mass at her home. Since the attending doctor was family and the priest was a very long time family friend, we just went on with it and notified the authorities later. I believe her death certificate reflects this, but I never checked.

In America, at least my area, the body gets moved a lot. Funeral home for wake/visitation/viewing.  FUneral is often at their church.  Buriel at a cemetery that is often not affiliated with the church and might be 5 to 25 miles away from the church.

violinp

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3522
  • cabbagegirl28's my sister :)
Re: Funerals
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2011, 02:20:36 PM »
I find the American funeral procession very interesting. Probably because it doesn't exist here. The cemeteries here all have facilities for holding the wake and funeral: viewing rooms, chapels, etc, which, in the US, would happen in the funeral home (I believe - we don't have them here). From there, the coffin is carried directly to the grave, without need for a car.

Since my grandmother died at home, we bent all the rules possible (ok, it was downright illegal, we should have had her body removed immediately after death) and held her wake and funeral mass at her home. Since the attending doctor was family and the priest was a very long time family friend, we just went on with it and notified the authorities later. I believe her death certificate reflects this, but I never checked.

In America, at least my area, the body gets moved a lot. Funeral home for wake/visitation/viewing.  FUneral is often at their church.  Buriel at a cemetery that is often not affiliated with the church and might be 5 to 25 miles away from the church.

Not to mention to the ME for autopsy if it was a suspicious death.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


TeamBhakta

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2442
Re: Funerals
« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2011, 02:25:41 PM »
I was also raised Lutheran...so am used to fairly traditional funerals...but I've been to some wierd ones as well.

The last one we went to actually upset me a bit.  The family of the deceased, were invited to a BBQ before the viewing (which is fine, they have to eat)...but showed up in Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. :o

I took some pains to dress appropriately, I even went to buy a suitable shirt to wear since I didn't have anything that I thought was appropriate.

Why did I bother?

My funeral plans include "Relaxed dress: jeans and flip flops are fine. No black clothes, please. Margaritas, Metallica and large buffet to follow"  :-*

*Speaking of "what the heck" moments: Years ago, my dad went off to a funeral out of state. He came back with the story that his cousin "Joe" showed up with his wife "Katie", a barking dog and what one politely calls "a special lady friend." They were told "no, you can't have the dog in the funeral chapel." So the dog sat in the foyer barking the whole time. As for their "special lady friend", nobody knew about her until the funeral. 
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 07:26:25 PM by TeamBhakta »