A Quick Overview of Proper Funeral Etiquette

Funerals are emotionally complex, and knowing how to act can present a challenge, or at least be confusing. Issues such as what to wear, where to sit, and how long to stay can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re grieving. Knowing the etiquette guidelines around funerals can help you feel more comfortable at the service.

Traditional funeral features

A funeral service generally begins with the body being brought in by pallbearers. During the service, people may say prayers, deliver eulogies, read passages from scripture or literature, or sing songs. At the end of the service, the body will be removed to a hearse by the pallbearers and brought to the cemetery for interment. In the case of cremation, the body will be removed to a crematory for cremation.

In the case of burial, there may also be a graveside service after the funeral, which all guests may be invited to attend.

Funeral etiquette

While issues of funeral etiquette may feel very serious or stressful, it’s important to remember that your job, as a funeral attendee, is to support and console those grieving, and to participate in the communal grieving that’s taking place.

In light of this, the general advice for how to act at a funeral or memorial service is to be respectful, courteous, and generous to others. Remember that the simple presence of a friend, a hug, or a kind word can go a long way towards making someone feel comforted.

Issues of funeral etiquette include:

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