Memorial Service Etiquette

Memorial services are emotional events, and it can be hard to know how to act, espeically if you are grieving. By learning some of the etiquette guidelines around memorial services, you may feel more comfortable at the service.

Traditional memorial service features

Memorial services take place after the body has been buried or cremated, so there will be no body at the service (though cremated remains may be present). During the service, people may say prayers, deliver eulogies, read passages from scripture or literature, or sing songs.

Memorial services may take place soon after the death, or may take place on anniversaries of the death. Memorial services may be held in traditional locations, such as a religious place of worship, or in a location with personal significance, such as a park or a family home.

Memorial service etiquette

While issues of memorial service etiquette may feel very serious or stressful, it’s important to remember that your job, as someone attending the service, 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 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 memorial service etiquette include:

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