The Difference between Funeral and Memorial Services

funeral homes

At funeral homes, many types of services are held to pay tribute to and remember a loved one who has died. One kind of service is a funeral service, which is usually held before a deceased loved one is buried or cremated. The other kind of service is a memorial service, which is held without a physical body being present.

While some people use the terms funeral service and memorial service interchangeably, they are really two very different ways of remembering someone who has died. Both, however, are part of the funeral for somebody who is deceased.

A funeral service is usually held for someone who will be buried in a cemetery. A funeral service is often preceded by a viewing (the casket of the deceased is open) or a visitation (the casket of the deceased is closed), where the body of the loved one who died is present.

Viewings or visitations – as well as funeral services – are typically held at a time when most people can attend. This is either evening hours on weekdays or a weekend day. Viewings or visitations are usually two hours. This gives enough time for mourners to offer their condolences to the bereaved family in person, even if they don’t stay for the funeral service.

The funeral service that follows may include several components to help celebrate the life of the deceased – which may include religious or fraternal services, eulogies, the sharing of memories and special music.

Funeral services play a very important role for everyone who is there because it gives each person an opportunity to affirm the special place the deceased held in their life while they remember someone who has already died.

A memorial service is held after a loved one has been buried or cremated. If cremated the remains may be present in an urn during the service or they may be absent. Memorial services can be held days, weeks, months, or even years after someone has died, although long delays often complicate the grieving process.

Like funeral services, memorial services may include music, short readings, and a quick spiritual message, but the real focus is to have people talk about the impact of the deceased in their lives and the legacy they left behind.

For more information about services at funeral homes, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home can assist you. You can stop by our funeral home at 483 Chenango St., Binghamton, NY 13901, or you can contact us today at (607) 722-4023.