Many people have asked us questions at our funeral home Mesa AZ about the difference between a wake, a viewing, a visitation, and a funeral. We can understand the need for clarification, as there are some similarities. In today’s blog, we will help define the difference and discuss the options that you might want to consider.
First of all, a wake and a viewing are essentially different names for the same thing. It is a common practice in many cultures to provide an opportunity to spend time with the body before a funeral or final disposition. At a wake—or viewing, if you prefer—the body is on display in a casket. The casket may be open or closed, depending on the family’s preference or the condition of the body. Wakes at Mountain View, a funeral home Mesa AZ, can take place immediately before the funeral or last for up to three days before the service. Wakes may be family-only or open to the public.
A visitation, on the other hand, is an opportunity for mourners to specifically visit with friends and family to offer condolences. It may take place at a funeral home Mesa AZ, a private home, or a church or public social hall. The casket may or may not be present. If the casket is there, it remains closed. A visitation can take place at any time. It can last for several hours or even several days.
The choice of whether to hold a wake or a visitation at Mountain View, a funeral home Mesa AZ, or at another location is entirely up to the family. Many people decide to hold one or the other as a way to let mourners pay their respects at a time other than the actual funeral.
Another question that comes up is about whether it is necessary, appropriate, or otherwise required to attend wakes, visitations, and/or funerals. Some people wonder what is the right thing to do. Again, we would say that the answer to that is entirely up to you. In general, if you want to pay your respects and offer condolences, you should feel comfortable attending whichever occasion you would like to. There is no requirement, and no one is keeping track of which you attend.