What Is A Funeral Wake?

A wake is a social gathering associated with a death and can be held before or after a funeral. Traditionally, a wake is held a day or two before the actual funeral or memorial service and can also be referred to as a viewing or visitation.

An urn or a casket is usually present, and the casket may be opened or closed. At this time, people pay their respects and offer condolences to the loved-ones of the departed. It is a good chance to speak to friends and family of the deceased person, and maybe share a story or memory that you are particularly fond of.  Wakes are typically held at a funeral home, chapel, or even at the family's home. It can last a few hours and you can choose to stay for a shorter time or for the entire duration.  The decision to have a funeral wake is optional and at the family's discretion. You can choose to distribute prayer cards at the wake, visitation or viewing.  The prayer cards are a small keepsake that honors a loved-one with their photo and short prayer on the back. These can be handed-out during the wake or at the funeral service itself.
Funeral Wake details can be provided in the newspaper obituary or death notice.  You can also want to call or email friends and family with the wake or visitation date, time and location.  If the wake is private, ensure that you state that in your obituary or funeral announcement.  Also, you may want to coordinate with your funeral home or funeral director to determine when the body will be ready and facilities are staffed and available.
According to wikipedia, The term wake was originally used to denote a prayer vigil, often an annual event held on the feast day of the saint to whom a parish church was dedicated. Over time the association with prayer has become less important, although not lost completely, and in many countries a wake is now mostly associated with the social interactions accompanying a funeral. While the modern usage of the verb wake is "become or stay alert", a wake for the dead harks back to the vigil, "watch" or "guard", of earlier times. 
A funeral is more formal than a wake and is typically led by a funeral celebrant or religious figure. A wake is more casual and focuses on the mourners coming together and remembering the life of the person who died. It is not mandatory that you attend both the wake and the funeral service. It is respectful to attend both, but not compulsory.
At the wake, Family and friends may share memories of the person who has died, and celebrate the life lived based on religion and personal preferences. Some bereaved families may choose to organize an event for the mourners to participate in, like planting a memorial tree, wearing a particular color in loving memory, Write entries in a memory book or Host a slideshow with pictures and videos of the deceased.  Yet other wakes can be as simple as just paying your last respects to the deceased. Any mourners who aren't able to make the funeral service may attend the wake, including young children. Food and drink is also often served.

We hope that this video has given you some insight on what a funeral wake is, and what to expect should you attend one. Be sure to check out our online superstore for more great resources and funeral program ideas only available, at the funeral program site dot com!

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