Your presence is something that you can give to show and express your condolences to the bereaved family. However, there are important things to give consideration to when attending a funeral service. If you are planning to attend one, you may want to know what your responsibilities are as a friend or as a visitor. The main purpose of your attendance is to give support and to condole with the grieving family. However, knowing how to properly present yourself and act in the funerals may help lighten up the unbearable pain that the family and friends feel. Here are some of the funeral etiquettes that you may want to follow:
At least 10 or 20 minutes ahead of time, if you are attending the funeral service, make sure that you arrive early. By doing so, you will have a few minutes to approach the family and say your condolences and interact with other guests or people you know. Another advantage of arriving early is that you can find a seat where you can sit comfortably during the funeral service.
Proper dress code is an important matter to consider when attending a funeral. It is appropriate to wear formal attire, which includes a blouse and skirt or pants for women and formal shirts and pants for men. If you prefer wearing casual attire, make sure that you are not wearing sleeveless tops and a pair of shorts or miniskirts. Flat shoes and formal shoes are more appropriate for your feet.
Moreover, an informal funeral service may not require you to wear formal dress code but you have to be sure of it or else you will look awkward on this important but sad occasion.
Choose a Seat
Depending on your relationship with the immediate family, choosing a seat in the funeral is one of the things to consider as funeral etiquette is discussed. You should where to sit or else you will be pointed to a seat or spot at the back. Immediate family members are expected to take the front seats while relatives and closest friends may take the seats just behind the family. The family may reserve several rows for important guests. When you choose a seat, always take the empty seat close enough to show your respect.
To show respect to the deceased person and to the grieving family, your cellphone and other kinds of gadgets should be turned off or put on a silent mode so that no one will be disturbed once it rings. In addition, it is courteous to avoid checking on your phone from time to time to see if someone texted you.
Eating while the funeral service is ongoing is not proper, as well. It is best to wait for the service to end or wait for the family to serve you something to eat.
If you want to take pictures or if the family assigned you to take pictures of the said event, be courteous enough to consider what is in the background. It is unprofessional and inappropriate to catch someone deeply mourning and seriously grieving in your photographs and publish the pictures online.
Keep Children Quiet
Kids may tend to be noisy or bored in this kind of event. They may cry loud or ask for food, or they may talk loudly that will cause a distraction to others. If you are bringing a child or children to the funeral service, it is best to find a place where you can easily take them outside when necessary.
Control Your Emotions
It is normal to feel emotional, especially if the deceased person is someone important. If you know that you are the type of person who cannot easily control your crying it is best to step out of the room and compose yourself. You may choose to go back to the funeral when you are calmed and relaxed.
Respect Traditional Rituals
If the family practice traditional funeral rituals that you do not agree with practicing with, it is most appropriate to stay in the back area or backseat and let the family finish their rituals. Moreover, if you are aware that the family belongs to a religious group or tribe that follows and practice certain traditional rituals, make sure that you know the basic of it to avoid the experience of culture shock.
If the guestbook or registry is available, be sure to write your name on it or sign it before you leave. This will help the family know who attended the funeral. If the family allows sympathy messages, make sure to write a brief message and avoid long ones.
Etiquette at the Graveside
If it is the burial you are attending, proper etiquette should also be observed. As you approach the graveside, try to avoid stepping on the graves and tombstones. If there are chairs in the graveside, always expect that they are intended for the immediate family and relatives. It is best to find a spot at the back where you can stand quietly.
Funerals are one of the important events that require your best behavior and etiquette. When you observe it, you are not only showing respect to the bereaved family but also to the deceased person. You can express your sincerest condolences and sympathy to the family when you behave properly at the funeral and avoid creating any untoward incidences that may add stress to the family.