The Christian Funeral

A Long-Standing Tradition of Mourning

The Basics of a Christian Funeral

For hundreds of years now, when someone passed away, it’s been customary to have a Christian funeral service performed inside a church with prayers for the deceased and for the grieving family. If you find yourself in the awkward position of having to plan a Christian funeral, here are some of the basics you should know.

The Christian Wake

A Christian funeral usually begins with a wake, where grieving family and friends meet together at the location where the body is kept to reflect on the deceased person’s life and to view the body if it is an open-casket viewing. Sympathy cards are given to all attendees and prayers are made. At a wake, it is customary and respectful to wear black or dark clothing and to mourn the loss of life.

The Church Service

Usually on the following day after the wake, mourners will gather at a church where a priest or pastor will perform a Christian religious service honoring the person who died and to offer prayers of forgiveness and acceptance. Right before or after the service, a eulogy may be given by anyone who wishes to speak, reflecting on the life of the deceased person and the memories they had together.

Final Goodbyes at the Gravesite

When the church services are complete, a funeral procession will begin, transporting the body to the cemetery for burial. At the burial site, final prayers are given and mourners can say their goodbyes to the person they cared about so much. Laying out flowers and touching the casket for the last time is appropriate as well as shedding tears of mourning for the person they will no longer share their life with.

After the Funeral

Once the funeral is over, it is customary for Christians to meet at the house of a close family member for food and sharing some time together. Family members will reflect on the life the deceased person and view photographs of the time they had together while he or she was alive. For years to come, family and friends will visit the gravesite in front of the headstone to honor their loved one knowing that they will see them again.

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