Cremation and Funeral Traditions in America

By: Schilling Funeral Home & Cremation
Monday, June 13, 2022

What are the most common traditions around death and cremation services in Fulton, IL? Historians believe funeral and cremation traditions date as far back as 60,000 BC, but our modern traditions are very different from the ones back then.  

Here are the most common modern funeral and cremation traditions in America:  

  • Funerals – A traditional funeral usually consists of a viewing or visitation followed by a funeral service that includes readings, prayers, and eulogies and is concluded with the body being buried or entombed. What Americans think most of when they think of funerals is the general somber feeling combined with black attire, religious moments, and burial at a cemetery. However, these days, funerals and other services like memorials can be almost anything.  
  • Viewings and Visitations – A visitation is when the family of the bereaved make themselves available for other family, friends, coworkers, and anyone who’d like to come so these people can express their condolences of the passing. Similarly, a viewing is when the bereaved can gather to view the body and express condolences. Viewings are often held at the funeral home, but can also be held in other locations.  
  • Reception – Funeral services are traditionally followed by a reception or wake at which the bereaved can receive support and comfort from the funeral attendees. Receptions, help the bereaved’s community get together and honor the family. These gatherings can be held almost anywhere, from banquet halls and restaurants to churches, homes, or even parks. The bereaved generally invite all the funeral attendees, but some open it up to the general public or keep it more intimate with only close family and friends.  
  • Burial – A burial is a form of final disposition in which a body is buried in a hole in the ground. Also known as internment, burial is one of the longest-standing death traditions in the United States. Burial first became popular as a way to keep animals away from a body and to protect the living from the smell of the decaying body. However, it quickly transformed into a way to show respect for the dead and as a way for the bereaved to be able to visit the deceased to continue to pay their respects. Interestingly, the “six feet deep” rule is just a myth. There is no nationwide law regarding grave depth, as necessary depth depends on soil type, method of burial, and other factors. The most common depth requirement is 36 inches. 
  • Additional Traditions - This is far from a comprehensive list of American funeral traditions. Others include pallbearers, open caskets, embalming, sending flowers, funeral processions, wearing black, and more. 

You are allowed to choose all, some, or none of these traditions to celebrate the life of your lost loved one. We are here to help if you want to learn more about traditions surrounding death or Fulton, IL cremation services. Call or visit us today for more information on our services or how we can help in your time of loss or preplanning.   

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