What Are the Different Types of Burial Services Available?

Burial Services

Did you know that there are 2.4 million burial services taking place each year in the United States?

A funeral serves to remember, commemorate, and respect the life of a loved one. But, still giving family and friends the chance to say their final goodbyes. It entails certain traditional practices that can vary significantly. That depends on the deceased’s faith, community, and personal wishes.

While planning a funeral is a highly emotional moment, it is essential to add some order to this disturbing event. There are many alternatives available. These range from traditional funeral services to cremation, or even no funeral at all.

If you are planning a funeral at the end of your life, consider some of the following types of funerals. Find out more in our complete guide

Traditional Burial Services

A traditional funeral service is typically an organized, formal function conducted at the funeral home, chapel, or other chosen location. Usually, the deceased’s body is present in a casket. A burial is usually held shortly after an individual’s death.

Usually, the service is guided by a clergyman or another prominent community official. They head the visitors through a sequence of prayers, hymns, or other ceremonies.

They may also ask a family member to speak.  Following the funeral, the body is buried in a graveyard. A short service for relatives and others nearest to the deceased can be held at the gravesite.

Memorial Services

Typically, a memorial service is held in the absence of a body. You can also have a memorial service sometime after the person’s death. It may be the family’s decision not to have the body present rather than hold a memorial service. 

In addition to a memorial service, you can arrange a more private service for relatives and close friends. The friends and loved ones may say some words in remembrance of the deceased at the memorial service. 

Memorial ceremonies, like typical burials, may be religious. They will take place in a house of worship, a community center, or a funeral home.

Celebration of Life Services

Celebrations of life have become increasingly popular. A celebration of life ritual differs from a traditional funeral service in that it is a private celebration of a loved one’s passing. You may celebrate in various ways to honor and share the love their life brought to family and friends.

Life celebrations may be formal or casual, religious or secular. They may be held shortly after death or months later. Life celebrations may be performed as stand-alone services or as massive celebrations after a more solemn ceremony.

In fact, some celebrations may even take place in pubs, clubs, or other areas of entertainment.

Graveside Services

A graveside or committal service is an option. This takes place at a graveyard and you may hold it separately or in conjunction with a typical funeral.

The majority of graveside services are formal in nature. A priest or officiant usually leads the service, and the guests listen to readings and pray. If the individual was cremated, the urn is set in a cremation niche, cremation bench, or mausoleum.  

Graveside services are customarily held outdoors and in public view. They are usually shorter than conventional funerals.

Scattering Ceremony

Cremations are becoming very popular. As a result, more people are holding scattering rituals. 

Cremation reduces the body to its basic elements by exposing it to open fire, excessive heat, and evaporation. That takes place in a cremation chamber or retort, which is a specially built furnace. Many crematories need a body container, such as a cremation-ready casket or a solid cardboard container. That is how cremation works.

Cremated remains are known as “ashes.” 

A scattering ritual happens when you return the remains of the deceased to nature. Since you do this outside, these services are relatively brief.

Visitation or Viewings

Visitations are nearly always held in connection with a traditional funeral, but they sometimes occur independently.

You use visitations procedures to allow mourners to say their final farewells to the deceased. These gatherings are sometimes known as “viewings.” The deceased’s body will be present for display.

Occasionally, the family will show pictures or other mementos at the visitation. Depending on the length of the gathering, a light meal or refreshments will be available.

Celebrating With a Wake

You may have learned about the tradition of spending the night with the deceased. This was also known as a wake or vigil. Historically, you held a wake at the deceased’s home. Now, they usually have them at funeral homes or houses of worship.

A wake or vigil is usually religious, typically Catholic or Orthodox. They are similar to visitations, except that they may sometimes disrupt them with prayers, recitations, and readings.

Combination of the Different Service Types

As discussed previously, you hold some of these services in conjunction with others.

For instance, you might schedule a visitation (or wake) in the evening. That will allow those with daytime obligations to attend a service to share their condolences. That will be preceded by a traditional funeral in the morning, followed by a graveside service.

Specific individuals elect to receive various forms of service on the same day. For instance, you can have a lengthy visitation with a traditional funeral service at the exact location that afternoon.

Rest in Peace!

In Ernest Hemingway’s famous words, “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”

No one wants to have to plan a funeral at a time when things are already tough. If you do have to,  we hope we have given you an understanding of your choices. This knowledge will assist you in determining the type of services that are appropriate for you. 

Even though it is a difficult subject to approach, it is wise to make your wishes known regarding your choice of service. That makes it easier for your loved ones at a difficult time.

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