Celebrations of Life vs. Funerals: What's the Difference?

Monday, January 4, 2021

It's never easy losing a loved one. And yet, death is an unfortunate aspect of the cycle of life.

When someone close to you dies, arrangements will need to be made for their funeral. This type of event can come in several forms, including either a private or public ceremony. Some people choose a funeral, while others opt for a celebration of life. But what's the difference between these two events?

This article takes a look at funerals compared to celebrations of life. Keep reading to discover insight into choosing the right type of end of life ceremony for the passing of a loved one. 

What is a Funeral?

First, let's take a look at the definition of a funeral. 

This type of end of life ceremony has been around for thousands of years. A traditional funeral service involves three primary activities. These include the visitation, the funeral service, and the graveside or committal service. When you think of a traditional funeral, images from movies and TV likely come to mind. 

The visitation is actually held the day before the funeral. This is an opportunity for family, friends, and the community to show their respect for the individual who has passed and for the family of the deceased, and often involves the viewing of the open casket though not always.

The funeral service itself is commonly held at a church or funeral home and is organized by the staff from the funeral home. This ceremony includes hymns, invocations, Scripture readings, and a prayer led by a member of the family or the officiant.

The Committal service takes place at the cemetery. The members of the funeral procession drive from the church or funeral home to the graveside, where final thoughts and prayers are offered before the casket is lowered into the ground.

What is a Celebration of Life?

Now let's look at what is meant by the term "celebration of life".

While a funeral typically more organized and orderly with spiritual overtones, a celebration of life is generally more concerned with remembrance through storytelling and celebrating a life well-lived.

Friends and family gather, there are food and drink, and the event resembles more of a party environment than an actual ceremony. It's also intended to be a happy occasion rather than somber.

What are the Major Differences?

A funeral is organized by a funeral home, and everyone is expected to dress appropriately for the event. Whereas a celebration of life is often far more casual, and attendees can come and go as they please.

Although you might send out celebration of life invitations, the occasion isn't nearly as formal as the structure of a funeral.

Deciding Which Type of Service is Right For Your Family

Choosing between a traditional funeral service and a celebration of life is a personal decision and should be based on what is right for your family. In many circumstances, families actually opt to have both events. 

A Guide to Understand the Difference Between Funerals and Celebrations of Life

Letting go can be hard. Fortunately, funerals and celebrations provide the chance to say goodbye and hold those who've passed on close to your heart.

Please contact us to learn more about our end of life services.

At Schumacher & Benner Funeral Home and Crematory, we want to take care of you and your family in any way possible. Our services include traditional funeral services, celebration of life services, cremations, selection of memorial and headstones, and more. 

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