What is a funeral?
A funeral is a service or ceremony for celebrating, respecting, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Traditionally, the ceremony is held with the deceased’s casketed body present, and more recently, the term funeral has been used to describe the service when the deceased’s cremated remains or urn are present.
Funerals are often formal, sometimes religious, and usually follow a traditional pattern and timeframe. Funeral customs are comprised of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the deceased.
Customs vary widely between cultures, and between religious affiliations within cultures. A funeral service can be held at the funeral home chapel, church or place or worship, or various other locations. A viewing of the deceased, or closed casket visitation, is often combined with the funeral ceremony, but not always.
What is a memorial service?
Often referred to as a celebration of life, a memorial service is a ceremony held in honor and in memory of the deceased, when the body is not present. Memorial services are often less formal than a funeral, and are sometimes religious.
A memorial service can be held at any given time following the death and may be open to public attendance or private for family and those personally invited. If cremation is the disposition selected, the deceased’s cremated remains or urn may or may not be present at the ceremony.
Memorial or celebration of life services can be held at the funeral home, church, or a variety of other indoor or outdoor locations. In addition to the service, many choose to have a visitation where family and friends are received, either before or after the service.