Funeral Services

About Funeral Services

The funeral service, sometimes called a memorial service or a celebration of life, is a beautiful way to recognize, celebrate and honor the life of a loved one who has passed away. A funeral can bring comfort and peace to those who mourn and bring people together to share in the grief of loss and the joy of knowing someone.

Funeral services are formal gatherings, often chaired by a member of a church or a celebrant. They can be traditional or modern, religious, spiritual or a celebration of life with all the contemporary touches that you might like to include. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of a funeral service, but experts agree that it can help you with your grief.

A funeral service, whether traditional or more modern (memorial service or celebration-of-life), has two functions: to acknowledge the death and lifetime achievements of an individual and to bring grieving family members and friends together in support of one another during this difficult time.

Types of Funeral Services

For families and individuals living in this region (as elsewhere in the nation), funeral service can mean a lot of things. Some fall back on what is commonly called a “traditional funeral;” others see the same traditional service as an emotionally unfulfilled event. Fortunately, thanks to a number of unique social forces, there are other types of funeral services. Today, end-of-life commemorative services range from the traditional funeral to a memorial service and the increasingly popular celebration of life.

Traditional Funeral

A traditional funeral is often presided over by an officiant of a church or a director of a funeral home. Traditional funerals tend to be formal in mood and are traditional in their program. They usually include hymns or traditional songs, hymns and readings — from poems and verses to favourite quotations.

Funerals may be held in a funeral home or in a religious place, such as a church or a temple. Often the casket is open. However, funerals may be held with closed caskets or urns, if cremation is chosen.


The atmosphere at a wake is generally less formal than at a traditional funeral. A wake may take place at a home or at a funeral home, and may take place either in the days before or in the place of a traditional funeral. Often, wakes are held in an “open house” format, allowing people to come and go within certain time frames, casually visiting, relaying memories and comforting one another.

There may be food served and music played. The casket or urn may or may not be present.


A visitation (sometimes also called a viewing) is an opportunity for the family of a loved one to receive visitors and spend some time talking with and being comforted by friends. It’s also time to pay respects to a loved one and give both family and friends a sense of closure. Visitations often come with an open casket. A visitation period often takes place the day before the funeral and immediately before the funeral service.

Memorial service

A funeral service without a casket or urn is called a memorial service. It’s similar to a traditional funeral, and it honors the life of a loved one and can take place months or even a year after someone’s death.

The service may take place in a funeral home, or sometimes the family would rather host it at their own home so that a big family gathering can be called.

What is the purpose of Funeral Services

When we experience the death of someone we love, a funeral service fills several important needs. Here are a few common reasons:

  • Funerals help us acknowledge that someone we love has died.
  • Funerals allow us to say goodbye.
  • Funerals offer continuity and hope for the living.
  • Funerals provide a support system for us, friends, family -members and the community.
  • Funerals allow us to reflect on the meaning of life and death.