A funeral ceremony is a goodbye — a farewell between you and the earthly form of a departed loved one. As such, the
ceremony is likely to involve prayers, memories of the deceased, and heartfelt displays of love and
But this does not mean that all funeral ceremonies are alike. Read on to discover more about 4 unique forms of funeral ceremonies, each of which provides a respectful send-off for a loved one who is no longer with us.
With a few exceptions, Masonic rituals are not generally carried out in public. Instead, they occur behind closed
doors in a manner befitting of the order. Cornerstone laying ceremonies are one such exception, and funerals are
another — during Masonic funerals, respected Lodge Masters and high-ranking members of the order have public funeral
rites conferred upon them.
Members of the deceased's lodge will join the ceremony and the wake and will thank the departed individual's family for their contributions to the order. Lodge members will also read from the Masonic Funeral Service — a piece of writing reserved only for order members of a sufficiently high rank.
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A military funeral will typically involve wearing military uniforms and insignia by those who have served in the
armed forces. Members of the deceased's unit or regiment will also be present, and some may accompany the coffin on
its journey to the place of rest.
Any member of the armed forces who has died on active duty, or any individual who has served and then left the military by any means other than by dishonorable discharge, may receive a military funeral. There are different levels of military funerals — including standard or full honor ceremonies. The appropriate level of the ceremony is defined by the deceased's rank in the armed forces.
A funerary parade essentially expands the scope of the ceremony, taking it beyond the boundaries of the cemetery or
crematorium and creating a moving ceremony that progresses through the nearby streets. The parade may involve a
final tour of the deceased's hometown or a location that meant a lot to them, or it may simply be a way for more
mourners to pay their respects.
Different locations and cultures have their own versions of funerary parades. In New Orleans, for instance, a jazz funeral involves a parade through the streets, complete with dancing and up-tempo music. Joining the parade is a respectful but cathartic experience, helping to deal with the trauma of loss.
Coffins and Celebrations of Life
The funerary parades we touched on above can be highly somber occasions, or they can include an element of
celebration and joy at a life lived to the very fullest. While a funeral will always be a sad occasion, remembering
the wonderful life of your loved one can elicit feelings of happiness and gratitude for the time spent with
Many cultures around the world try to reflect the personality of the deceased during funeral sessions, celebrating life rather than simply mourning death. For example, the fantasy coffins of Ghana became a viral sensation as internet users around the world marveled at the creativity and care that went into making these caskets. Meanwhile, the funeral rites of Bali in Indonesia tend to involve dancing and singing, as well as other activities that reflect the joy the deceased provided to the lives of so many.
Honoring Your Loved One in a Personal Way
While there are many customs associated with funerals and processes of mourning, you are encouraged to honor your loved one in a personal manner. Adding personal touches can help memorialize the deceased in the right way, as you reflect on a lifetime of love and care.
Explore our Memorial Posters page and find the perfect way to celebrate the life of your loved one.
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