The Purpose of Funeral Traditions

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You will encounter traditions at funeral homes because they are links to our past. Funeral traditions offer familiarity that is both comforting and supportive, which is exactly what a grieving family needs when a loved one dies.

Today, it is more fashionable to forego the funeral traditions that have been part of the American fabric for many years, and replace them with alternative rites.

However, the reality is that funeral traditions fulfill the emotional needs of both the bereaved family and those around them who are also mourning the loss of someone dear to them. Having these traditions helps blunt the force of the grieving process and allows the grieving family to move forward into a new normal.

One funeral tradition is to hold a ceremony to pay respects to the person who has died. Whether that ceremony is a funeral service or a memorial, it will be made of familiar words, symbols, music, and actions. The order and content of the ceremony are predictable.

Funeral rituals are not just for those who have died, but also for those who are still alive. Because funeral rituals have been around so long, they have become a strong and unbreakable thread that connects us to all of those who have gone before us.

Some people tell their family members they don’t want a funeral or memorial service. However, what they don’t realize is that the service is less about the person who has died and more about the people they leave behind.

Without a funeral service closure can be harder to obtain. Funeral rituals, which include communal support, consolation, comfort, and encouragement, give a grieving family the closure they need to emotionally go forward. When those funeral rituals are not done, the family of the person who has died, as well as their friends and associates, could be left with unfinished emotional business.

Without a ceremony, the emotional aspect of dealing with the death of a loved one can take years to sort out and to make peace with. This can place a tremendous burden on everyone because funeral rituals were skipped or were replaced with a substitute that did not take care of the family’s emotional needs.

One of these emotional needs is the opportunity to say goodbye to a loved one. This practice is embedded in the funeral ritual of a visitation. The grieving family has time alone with their loved one before other mourners come through to pay their respects and to offer consolation. This time enables the family to say goodbye to their loved one privately. There may be tears. There may be small mementos that are placed in the casket. There may be heartfelt words, including things not said when the loved one was alive.

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If you need guidance on funeral traditions at funeral homes, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home can assist you. We understand that this feels like an impossible time in your life, but we are here to guide you through it with compassion and support.