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Funeral etiquette for guests: tips on what to do and how to be in a mournful hour


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As a rule, the funeral is held on the second day after the death of a person. If you are attending a funeral for the first time or have not attended such an event for a long time, check out this article. After reading it, you will learn the general rules and standards of conduct at a funeral. Be sure to come to the funeral on time. Choose appropriate clothing. As a rule, people go to the funeral in clothes of dark colors. Also do not forget to express condolences to the relatives of the deceased. In addition, various religious ceremonies can be held at the funeral. Find out in advance what ceremonies will be held in order to prepare and feel more at ease.

During the funeral service

If the deceased's relatives order a funeral ceremony in the temple, then it's up to you to attend or not. The most correct thing is to find out about this in advance and clarify which funeral rites are accepted in a particular religion.

For example, among Orthodox Christians, everyone present holds lighted candles in their hands and, standing at the tomb, read prayers. In Jewish tradition, it is inappropriate to bring wreaths or flowers to a funeral. And Catholics send out written invitations for a memorial service.

At the requiem, the first places at the tomb are always intended for close relatives. Therefore, you need to sit down or become a little further. Moreover, if you are ignorant of the rituals, it will be easier to navigate and repeat after others what everyone does: bowing, laying the cross, or repeating the words of prayer.

If you hold a different faith and religious beliefs, you optionally perform rituals of another's faith. You can simply stand or sit on the sidelines with a mournfully bowed head and thereby express respect for the dead man and for all those present.

It will be correct to turn off the phone or put it into silent mode. It is indecent and tactless to conduct telephone correspondence during the ceremony, as well as to film the ceremony on camera without prior approval from relatives or the manager of the funeral.

Funeral procession

  • In the old days, a funeral procession moved on foot from the temple to the cemetery. To transfer a coffin with a body and a lid, several people are required. Do not carry the coffin to close relatives. Traditionally, relatives and friends go right behind the coffin. They carry the first wreaths. Now this path is the distance to the hearse, and the accompanying people then go next to the cemetery by transport.
  • Funeral etiquette prescribes an appropriate appearance for a funeral. It must correspond to the atmosphere of grief and sorrow. Clothing does not have to be black, rather calm tones, better than dark. A dark classic suit will suit men.
  • If the farewell ceremony takes place in the church, then women need to cover their hair with a scarf or scarf. It is inappropriate for a woman to wear pants for a funeral. Shoes are best used on this day as comfortable as possible.
  • Since not only grief but also an avalanche of worries falls on relatives on the day of the funeral, you will, if desired, have the opportunity to provide all possible assistance. This will not only alleviate their suffering, but will show respect and pay the last tribute to the deceased.
    Grasp what you can actually do. For example, help with a funeral table, look after the children, save someone from an emotional breakdown, or take people to the station. The main thing is that your help be concrete, and what it can be, you will see for yourself, according to the circumstances.

Flowers and wreaths at a funeral

Funeral wreaths have long had their own symbolism. They use evergreensas guides to another world as well artificial and natural flowers - a symbol of rebirth. The circle of the ritual wreath means continuity and cyclicality, eternal life through the dying and rebirth of the soul.

The last offering to the deceased in the form of a wreath is prepared by relatives, friends, and colleagues. Ribbons with commemorative inscriptions are woven into a wreath. It is undesirable to write someone’s names on tapes, usually they indicate “From relatives”, “From colleagues”, etc. Wreaths are carried behind the coffin, and after burial they are laid on the grave. They remain for a very long time and adorn the grave with bright colors even in winter.

Funeral etiquette prescribes to choose for the funeral certain varieties and colors of natural flowers. During the ceremony, when parting, they are put in a coffin to the deceased, and before being buried they are taken out and laid out on top of the grave.

Red flowers, including red roses, as a symbol of love, can bring only the closest relatives to the funeral. However, according to some beliefs, roses are an inappropriate flower at the funeral because of their thorns. Can issue mourning bouquet with even black ribbon chrysanthemums, carnations, callas, lilies or even orchids.

At the cemetery

Some people prefer not to go to the cemetery, especially people who are not very close to the deceased. The rules at the funeral do not provide for mandatory presence at all stages of the ceremony. After all, the main goal of those who came to the funeral is to express condolences to the family of the deceased and say goodbye to the deceased person.

If you decide to attend the burial, then a certain ceremony is observed at the cemetery.

  1. First they approach their relatives to say condolences. You can also shake hands or hug, depending on your degree of relationship or meeting with the deceased.
  2. During the funeral, relatives are placed on the left hand of the deceased, and acquaintances and friends - on the right. This is emotionally the most difficult stage of farewell, when the deceased is interred and the realization comes that it will no longer be possible to see him. So, going to the cemetery, stock up on napkins, water and medicines - if not for yourself, then for those who are much more difficult to survive this day.
  3. Men at funerals should take off their hats. In winter, in cold weather, this must be done, at least for a short time, when the coffin is lowered into the ground. Relatives throw three handfuls of earth onto the coffin, as a sign of farewell and letting go - the betrayal of the body to the earth.
  4. Sometimes in the cemetery above the coffin they say goodbye. This is a kind of civil requiem. Everyone can speak out if he has something to say. It will be appropriate to thank the deceased and say goodbye. After all, about the dead - either good or nothing. You should not say empty banal phrases, such as "he is better there" or "time heals."
  5. After burial and laying of wreaths, they usually linger slightly in silence at the grave. Before leaving, it is appropriate to bow to the relatives of the deceased. After the cemetery, the funeral participants go to a funeral dinner.

Wake after the funeral

People who are invited there usually come to the commemoration. It is understandable, because dinner is ordered for a certain number of people. At the commemoration of a quiet unhurried conversation, the deceased is remembered with kind words. You can say a speech for everyone present, or you can just talk with your closest neighbors on the table.

Usually they make a wake on the 3rd day after death, that is, on the day of the funeral. The Slavs believe that on this day the soul of the deceased appears for the first time before the Lord. Therefore, the main and first dish at the funeral ceremonies is a funeral kutia - a Slavic ritual dish. Kutia grains symbolize the resurrection of a new life, and honey is the sweetness of peace in another world.

Loud jokes, noise, laughter and swear words are inappropriate at the wake. You can laugh if such an atmosphere arises on the initiative of the deceased's relatives, when, for example, in a conversation they recall some funny incident connected with him. This is a good memory that works no worse than prayer. At the wake, it is not customary to drink alcohol.

At the end of dinner, you can be given pies, cookies or sweets with you. You can’t refuse treats; you can treat them to other people. After all, it is believed that the more people remember the deceased in a good way, the easier it will be for his soul to ascend to heaven and go to heaven.

After the commemoration, saying goodbye, you need to once again approach the relatives and say simple words of sympathy. Then you can leave. It will be very noble not to leave heartbroken people without attention. You can call or call in the coming days, show that life goes on, and your communication will also continue.