One of the oldest traditions of human kind is the funeral service. For each culture has its own special ritual for dealing with the death of a loved one. "Traditional Services” are those which contain practices passed on from one generation to the next. Each culture there is a concern for the appropriate ceremony to mark the passage from this life to the next. These rituals take into account those who remain, as well as the deceased.
These rites and traditions of funerals are very important. They should reflect the traditions, attitudes, personality and faith life of the deceased, and their loved ones. The traditional service is an essential part of the grief process, which we all experience at the time of personal loss of a loved one. The traditional service is a vital part of a healthy grief process which helps us to return to normalcy.
What we do for these rituals should also reflect the fact that all persons whether great or small, are very important. We mark the life that has been lived and participate in the rite of passage to provide the living and the deceased a worthy final remembrance.
"Traditional Funeral Services" may consist of some or all of the following.
- Viewing or Visitation: This helps in the grief process by helping us accept the reality of death. It also provides opportunity for person to express sympathy, concern and love to family and friends of the deceased.
- Funeral Service: This Contemporary Service may be known by a variety of names, such as "Service of Remembrance:, "Celebration of Life Service" or a "Contemporary Memorial Service". This service whether conducted at a place of worship, funeral home or other location, is the ritual for the deceased person's rite of passage from this life. In addition, it is this service, in which family and loved ones have the opportunity to say goodbye. It is often lead by a person who has experience in conducting funeral rituals.
- Private or Public Service: Depending on the wishes of those making the arrangements for the deceased, the service may be private or public in nature.
- Committal Service: This takes place after the deceased is taken to the place of final rest. This service rite often includes prayers and words of departure or goodbye. It also provides opportunity for persons to express sympathy, concern and love to family and friends of the deceased. At the end of this service everyone departs.
- Post Committal Practices: It is the practice of some families to gather at a home, restaurant or other suitable place for food and fellowship following the committal service. This gives opportunity for persons to come together and gain the strength and renewal of ties with family and friends.