The Traditional Funeral: A Traditional Funeral usually consists of a visitation, Funeral Service and a Committal Service:
A Visitation or Wake: This is a period of time before the Funeral Service for family and friends to come to the funeral home and visit with the immediate family. Visitation comes from the word visit, when a family would welcome visitors at their home where a deceased used to be waked. Wake originates from when a family would welcome visitors to their home at all hours and a family member would stay awake all night incase a friend would stop by. This is a come and go period of time. Friends and family are expected to come express their thoughts, stories and sympathies, meet and visit other friends and families members, maybe over refreshments and leave. The family then has time to visit with other friends throughout the day or evening. Catholic wakes will encompass a vigil service officiated by a Priest or Deacon of families church. This will take place during the evening of the visitation, usually 7:00 P.M.
The Funeral Service: Funeral Services are usually held the next morning. These can take place in the Funeral Home Chapel or a Church. The typical time for Services is 10:00 A.M. This allows time for the Service itself, the procession to the cemetery and the Committal Service to conclude near the noon hour. Many families have a luncheon after the Committal Service. Offering friends or relatives to eat during the lunch hour gives them the opportunity to attend work for half a day. People may need to get their children from day care of school but will appreciate receiving food first.
The Funeral Procession: On the way to the Church or the Cemetery everyone will drive together in a line. A funeral procession ensures everyone arrives together. Each car is usually flagged and/or stickered signifying that they are part of a funeral procession. The family vehicles are directly behind the hearse, then the pallbearer vehicles followed by friends.
The Committal Service: This service takes place at the cemetery. This Service can be held at a chapel on the cemetery grounds or directly at the grave. This is usually a short service, 10 minutes, committing the body to the ground.
Luncheon: After the Committal Service many families will invite their friends and relatives to lunch. This can be done near the cemetery for visitors who may have traveled from that direction or near the families home at a favorite restaurant.