Rituals After a Death
A common way to honor a person who has died is by having a ceremony to honor their life. Funerals and memorial services are two traditional ways that people do this. These services are known as death rituals.
Some people feel great comfort from attending rituals. Relatives, friends, and co-workers gather to remember the life of the person and share memories about them. You may or may not find these events comforting or meaningful. Often, you can decide if you want to attend and how you want to be involved.
Some of the events might include:
- funeral service,
- memorial service,
- burial service, or
- faith-specific rituals such as a wake or shiva.
These traditional events are often arranged with help from religious leaders and staff at funeral homes and cemeteries. These professionals will help with planning and preparation for services that will be held at:
- a place of worship, such as a church, synagogue, or mosque,
- a funeral home,
- a cemetery, or
- a public hall.
Many people choose to hold small, private remembrances to honor their loved one’s memory, beliefs, or wishes. These types of events can be held at any location, such as:
- someone’s home,
- a restaurant,
- a park, or
- a place that was meaningful to the person who died.
Different religious faiths have different ways of conducting rituals. Depending on the person’s faith and cultural traditions, there are various ways of conducting rituals:
- some services take place a few days after the death,
- others may take place a week or two after the death, and
- some are not performed until significantly after the death.
Click the button below to learn about the rituals that different faiths observe to mark a death. The guides describe typical rituals in the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Islamic faiths, as well as secular rituals.