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Funeral Terms Explained


When pre-planning a funeral for yourself, or planning a funeral for a loved one, there may be a few related terms with which you may not be familiar. While our caring staff at Mountain View Funeral Home is available to help answer your questions, we have provided here a brief glossary of key terms that you may encounter when you are planning a funeral.

Arrangement Conference: When you begin to make funeral arrangements, you will meet with the funeral director and other staff members. This is considered the arrangement conference, and you will have many questions answered as well as begin making decisions.

Committal Service: Depending on the final disposition of the body, the committal service is the final portion of the ceremony where the deceased is cremated, entombed or interred.

Cortege: The cortege is the funeral procession; which generally involves a string of vehicles following the hearse from the memorial service to the final committal service. In history, this solemn procession involved a horse and carriage, and a line of mourners walking in slow procession from the church to the cemetery.

Embalming: To maintain a more lifelike appearance, the deceased is preserved and sanitized by the circulation of an antiseptic throughout the circulatory system.

Eulogy: During the memorial service, the eulogy is a speech made about the deceased by a friend, relative or spiritual leader.

Final Disposition: There are three general processes that human remains can follow to their final disposition: interment in a grave, entombment in a monument and cremation.

First Call: When a funeral director comes to collect the deceased, this is referred to as the first call.

Memorial Service: A memorial service often differs from a funeral service in that the body is not necessarily available, as it would be for a funeral service.

Obituary: Often called a notice of death, this is the formal notification of passing to friends and family. It is often publishing online, in the newspaper or both.

Viewing: A viewing may occur either before or after a funeral service, and is a time for friends and family to have a special space alone with the body of the deceased.

Vigil: While a strict vigil is often for Catholic mourners, this service is generally held on the eve of a funeral service – often by candlelight.

Visitation: Slightly different from a viewing, a visitation offers an opportunity for friends and family to support each other and is often held before the funeral service.

Wake: In many religious and ethnic backgrounds, a wake is considered a death ritual where mourners watch over the deceased both the evening before and directly after the memorial service.

We hope that this short glossary has been helpful. Find more helpful information about what will happen when death occurs on www.MountainValleyFuneralHomeandCemetery.com.

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