How NOT to Behave At a Funeral

The Comfort and Sweetness of Peace
After the clouds, the sunshine,
after the winter, the spring,
after the shower, the rainbow,
for life is a changeable thing.
After the night, the morning,
bidding all darkness cease,
after life’s cares and sorrows,
the comfort and sweetness of peace.

Helen Steiner RiceA funeral is considered a formal event where the people bid farewell to the departed. A funeral is a ceremony that involves varied culture/religion ways to commemorate the dead. The ceremony is arranged to show respect to someone even after they have departed this world. There are some basic etiquettes to be followed, regardless of culture or faith.

Following is a general overview of what may NOT be acceptable in attending most funerals:

  • Do not wear bright colors unless specified: Although, nowadays at funerals, people celebrate the life lived by the deceased; still the conventional thought of wearing somber colors is preferred. Therefore, avoid wearing colors that are bright or flashy; to maintain a decent dress code.

2) Do not dress inappropriately: Other than colors, one should also avoid wearing an inappropriate dress. Gone are the days of dressing up in all black for a funeral, but jeans and a t-shirt is not exactly acceptable either.  Wearing what you would wear for a wedding or a job interview would be the most appropriate. 

3) Do not miss the visitation and viewing: If the family of the deceased plans to keep a viewing; you should try to attend, regardless of how long you stay; what is important, is that you at least go and make a presence. If the deceased was someone close to you then it is expected that your stay would be longer. It does not matter if you do not know the family; you should make yourself visible in front of the family, express condolences and expressing how close you felt to their loved one.

4) Try to not allow children to be a distraction at funerals: Some may think that children do not belong at funerals. However, this might not always be possible depending on what relation the child shares with the deceased. If the deceased was someone dear or close to the child, it is better to prepare the child carefully by letting him/her know what a funeral is and what they might see and experience. This way the child will not panic or get shocked.

5) Do not do what you are not comfortable doing: In cases where you attend a funeral of someone who has different cremation/funeral pattern; it is not important for you to follow every act that is being performed. Simply attend it till the end and let the family know that you were here and how close you were to their loved one. However, make sure that you appreciate the services being carried out. The traditional practices you do not take part in, should not be obvious to others. Stay calm and quiet.

6) Do not be superficial: When it comes to giving condolences many people tend to come up with something different or creative and that usually come across as fake. It is okay to say something that has already been said by someone else. Just make sure that whatever you say comes straight from your heart because that is said after being felt, it’s genuine, and this will always touch the hearts of people.

7)  Do not make light of the situation: An unfortunate scenario that is seen usually is that when people come to funerals they tend to laugh and gossip in groups or pairs probably because they meet after a long time. The underlying matter is that this is highly unacceptable and disrespectful. The funeral is neither the right place nor the right time to talk about something else. You are here to give your condolences to the family of the deceased and to show respect to the one who passed away.

8) Do not let your consideration be a one-day affair: It is not enough to attend the funeral and then forget about it. Do stay in touch with the family of the deceased to express your condolence in the true sense of the word. Death is an event that happens to the one who leaves but affects the ones who are left behind. Therefore, to make them feel better or try to heal the pain they are going through; call them occasionally to know if they are fine. Especially on death anniversaries, express the same love and gratitude towards the deceased like you did on a funeral day.

Hopefully, these funeral etiquettes will be an add-on for those who know or have an idea about it and a guide for the ones who are not familiar with the funeral etiquettes.

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed by Tranquility Cremation and Funerals.