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Traditionally a wake was held at the house of the deseased and involved a period of time when friends and relatives literally stayed awake with the body until it was taken to the church for the funeral or to the cemetery for burial. Today a wake is held in the funeral home and can also be called the viewing, funeral visitation, or visiting hours. Most importantly this is a time for friends and family to have a private moment to pay their respects to the deceased with the support and help of friends and family.
A funeral is a ceremony in which the deceased’s life is celebrated and remembered. The body of the diseased is present during the ceremony where the officiant leads prayer and remembrance. After the funeral, family and close friends travel in procession to the cemetery for burial and final prayers.
During the winter months we are not able to bury due to the snow and frost in the White Mountains, so the deceased is placed in a temporary tomb at the cemetery. When the snow finally does melt in the spring a burial service and final prayers with family and friends is held at a time most convenient for the family.
The memorial service is a service given for the deceased without the body present. This may take place after an earth burial, cremation (the cremains may be present), entombment, scattering of ashes, or burial at sea. Typically these services take place at the funeral home and may include prayers, poems, or songs to remember the deceased. A picture of the deceased is placed at the altar where the body would normally be to symbolize the deceased.
A family may choose a graveside service, rather than the more traditional visitation or funeral service inside a chapel or church. A graveside service can be a small, casual gathering of family or close friends, to a larger grouping of people with more formal arrangements. This type of service is usually a brief and simplified service with fewer details involved. Personal mementos, photographs, video, special music, poetry or readings, and floral arrangements may be used at the graveside service to make the service more meaning