A traditional funeral includes the following components:
1. Viewing or Visitation
2. Funeral ceremony – a formal service
3. Burial at the gravesite
A traditional funeral normally starts with a viewing or visitation. This is where attendees can view the body and express their condolences to the bereaved family. The difference between a viewing and a visitation is that a visitation is a closed casket and a viewing is an open casket.
The viewing/visitation is followed by the funeral ceremony. How the funeral ceremony is conducted is up to the family. It may include:
This formal service gives loved ones the opportunity to celebrate the deceased’s life and demonstrate the love and respect they had for that person. Holding a ceremony allows the immediate family to include friends and colleagues in the mourning process. It also gives loved ones an opportunity to create a personal sendoff which acts as a public legacy for the person who has died.
Burial at the Gravesite
Mourners then make their way from the chapel or church where the ceremony was held to the cemetery. Depending on the distance, they can drive to the ceremony or simply walk it.
When they arrive members of the immediate family and close friends gather around the open grave, where the casket is lowered. They may choose to say a brief prayer before the coffin is fully lowered.
While the coffin is lowered, mourners are invited to scatter soil or flowers in the grave. This is usually the most emotional part of the funeral.
There are many types of funerals you can hold - ranging from a formal affair at a church to a more casual memorial service at a public park or beach. The type of farewell you organise should be in line with your loved one’s values, rather than attempting to replicate the format of what you think a funeral should be.
The types of funerals you can choose include:
Traditional funerals consist of a viewing/visitation, funeral ceremony, and then the burial (or cremation).
These are one of the cheapest options for a funeral. This is where there is a direct burial without a viewing/visitation or a funeral service. While the deceased’s family may not be present at the burial, they can still organise a funeral service elsewhere. By doing it this way, they will only have to pay for the transportation of the body, and then burying/cremating it.
Cremation has become one of the most popular ways to say goodbye to your loved ones in Australia. This is where the deceased’s remains are disposed of by burning them to ashes. You can choose to hold a cremation after the funeral ceremony or you can hold a direct cremation without a funeral service.
While a traditional funeral includes a graveside service, some may opt to do this on its own. A graveside service is a brief committal service that takes place at the cemetery or crematorium once the funeral ceremony is completed.
A graveside service is conducted entirely at the graveside. You are able to have more privacy to say goodbye, or you can even make the service more fitting to your spiritual and religious beliefs, wishes, and your family traditions.
A memorial service is another way to celebrate the life and memory of your loved ones. However, unlike a funeral service, you don’t have the presence of the deceased’s body. As a result, you can hold the memorial service any time before or after the burial or cremation. A memorial can be more informal than a typical funeral service, and you can use the time to reminisce and rejoice that person’s life.
The choice of funeral someone holds in Australia will depend on an individual’s:
While everyone puts their own personal spin on their funeral or memorial service a funeral service typically follows the order below:
1. Prelude – the opening part of the funeral. The family may request specific songs.
2. Introduction – the celebrant or religious leader gives welcoming remarks.
3. Opening readings – these typically include prayers, passages from other literature, or any special readings based on the family’s request.
4. Obituary – a close family member or friend can read the deceased’s person’s obituary.
5. Eulogies – where guests share their final words about the deceased.
6. Closing – where the celebrant or officiant reads the final prayers, plays a song, or gives reminders about the next part of the service.
7. Graveside service – where close friends and family of the deceased gather to watch the body be lowered to the final resting place.
8. Repast or Wake – this is an informal reception after the funeral. This is where the family can receive support and condolences.
It is important to note, however, that Australia has a diverse variety of religions and cultures, so the order of service can vary in different ways depending on these factors.