The Funeral Wake

Also known as “visitation,” “calling hours” and “waking the dead,” the funeral wake is a way to pay respect to the deceased. In the past, the wake was part social and partly practical, as – before funeral parlors and homes were created – the funeral often took place in the home of the deceased. Embalming often was not practiced, so someone needed to sit with the body to keep the bugs, flies, rats, dogs, cats and other curious and carnivorous animals – such as body snatchers – away from the corpse.

Historic Funeral Traditions: Catholic

Few rituals have such historic meaning as those conducted by the Roman Catholic Church. The following list contains some historic Roman Catholic burial traditions. If these traditions have changed, that information is included as well; however, little has changed, especially concerning the reasons behind the rituals. The following information may help you to understand how the Roman Catholics view death and dying:

Oregon Senator Seeks At-Home Burial Regulations

According to a recent news article, a state lawmaker in Oregon wants to set some ground rules for at-home funerals. Oregon’s Mortuary and Cemetery Board is recieving more calls from people who cannot afford a traditional funeral and who are seeking a less expensive way to deal with a family death. Some families may opt for cremation, which still remains less expensive than a traditional funeral. Others, however, are asking about at-home funerals.

Historic Funeral Traditions: The Amish

Although most people would identify the Amish with the known “Pennsylvania Dutch” settlement in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, there are many Amish communities located throughout the U.S. Because of their religious beliefs, Amish try to separate themselves from “outsiders” in efforts to avoid temptation and sin. They choose, instead, to rely on themselves and other members of their local Amish community.

How to Prepare a Corpse for an At-Home Funeral

If you want a truly green funeral, then you need to learn how your ancestors went about preparing a corpse for a funeral. The methods below were practiced before undertakers (or funeral directors) took over the handling of the dead between 1850 and 1920. Old-time funerals were, perhaps, the greenest funerals ever.

Early Funeral Customs

Attitudes toward death in America have changed over the centuries, because this country’s socio-economic status has changed as well as occupations, ethnic influences and more. In colonial America, especially in New England with the Puritans, and in Colonial Virginia, death was looked upon with a reality that does not seem prevalent today. Life was cut […]

Dying at Home: The Alternative to Hospitals

Have you thought about dying at home? In the past, that’s all that our ancestors could do – provided they weren’t killed or died accidentally away from the home. In Canada, it seems that more people are choosing the option to die at home, despite free medical care at their hospitals.

Funeral Homes and the Funeral Law – RIP or Rip-off?

According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report filed in March 2009, approximately one-fourth of the funeral homes investigated by undercover federal investigators violated the Funeral Rule significantly during 2008. These federal investigators visited 104 funeral homes in seven states, part of an undercover inspection of funeral homes conducted every year to help ensure compliance and maintain consumer confidence.

What Do Funeral Flowers Mean?

One of my favorite books is Gaskell’s Compendium of Forms, a social, educational, legal and commercial etiquette book published in 1882. While this self-teaching course in penmanship and bookkeeping is almost a century-and-a-half-old, it can provide some insight into how certain customs are followed, even today. And, no self-taught person would be fully complete without learning the language of flowers.

PrePayment – Is It the Right Choice?

How many times have you thought about prepaying for your funeral? After all, if you have money set aside and funeral plans all set, then your loved ones won’t need to worry about how to pay for your passing. While this willingness to prepay is gallant, you may be entering risky territory with a prepayment plan option. In fact, it may be money flushed down the toilet.