You may think that wearing a dark suit or a somber black dress to a funeral is the only required custom that won’t make you stand out from the crowd – or insult the other mourners. Wrong. There’s a lot more to funeral etiquette than just wearing the right clothes. Knowing what to do – and what not to do – can help prevent offense on the day, and spare you lasting embarrassment in future.
Funeral serve two main purposes: to commemorate the life of the deceased, and to offer mourners a chance to gather together and say their final goodbyes. Funerals are NOT places to network, party until you puke or pick up a cute date – although unfortunately all three happen from time to time.
While there are general guidelines regarding funeral behavior, as a rule they are specific to the event itself, taking religious, ethnic and personal considerations into account. While almost all funerals require that guests are polite, discreet and respectful, there is often more you can do – both to help the families of the deceased feel better, and leave them with additional happy memories of their loved ones…
Attending a funeral for the first time can be especially tricky, but it’s never all that easy. Here are a few actions expected of you that will make the whole process run a lot smoother…
DO offer up an expression of sympathy. Often we are at a loss for words when encountering something as final ของชำร่วยงานศพ as death. Simply saying “I’m sorry for your loss” is usually enough. Be respectful and listen attentively when spoken to, and offer your own words of condolence.
DO find out what the dress code is. While black or dark colors are the usual accepted attire, these days anything goes. If the funeral is of a young person, friends or parents may ask guests to dress up in sunny colors. Some people even write in their wills that what they want their dress code to be: they may want guests to attend their final send-off in Star Trek or Batman costumes, bright turquoise or even hot pink.
DO offer some type of gift, be it flowers, donation to a charity or a hot casserole (see below). If you know the family intimately it will be easy for you to choose the right gift. If you don’t, a bouquet or flowers or charity donation along with a simply signed card will speak volumes.
DO sign the register book with your name and affiliation, such as place or work or club membership. This will help family place who you are in future.
DO keep in touch with family members and friends later on. It might be awkward for you to do so, but for many people the grieving doesn’t end with a burial.
Avoid making a complete idiot of yourself by following these simple rules…
DON’T feel that you have to stay at the funeral forever. A funeral can be a drop-in occasion, and if you make a visit during calling hours there’s no reason your stay has to be a lengthy one. Talk to the people you need to talk to, murmur a few sympathetic words, have a drink and a cracker and make your exit.
DON’T be afraid of having a laugh. There is no written rule that says you cannot remember the departed with a funny anecdote or a shared story or two. While pealing off into raucous laughter may not be ideal, there is no reason you shouldn’t talk about the deceased in a happy, positive tone.
DON’T feel you have to pray next to the deceased – or even touch them – if there is an open casket. Act according to what is comfortable to you. If you are a bit nervous and want someone to come with you, by all means ask. If, on the other hand, you don’t want to get all close and personal, then don’t.
DON’T allow small children to run wild. If they don’t know the deceased, it’s best to shell out for a babysitter and leave them at home. However, if the deceased meant something to them, it’s a good idea to invite them to share in the experience, which eventually will help them come to terms with their own grief.