Funerals And Wakes: What Are The Differences?

Funeral flowers given to the deceased loved one

It’s not everyday that we face funerals and wakes, and a few people are unsure and clueless as to what to do when they drop by a dead person. These are just several of the things we commonly ask ourselves or to some other right before visiting a funeral or wake. Certain people even write down their do’s and don’ts so they’ll know what they need to avoid and do from the start, people who typically do this are those who’ll drop by a funeral or wake for the first time.

We frequently misinterpreted the meaning of funeral and wake, and often the two are being mistaken as the other one. What we don’t understand is that these two are different in a couple of aspects.


Family gathered for the final disposition of their departed loved one during the funeral ceremony

The funerary customs clears up the practices and beliefs practiced by what may be the family’s culture, and it is done to remember and appreciate the deceased, from burial to different monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor. Customs differ between cultures and religious groups. Usual practices for funerals include grieving the departed, remembering and rejoicing their life, and showing support and sympathy to the bereaved; in addition, funerals may have religious aspects that are aimed to assist the soul of the loved one reach the afterlife, or in some cases, the departed resurrection or reincarnation.

A funeral is a ceremony linked with the final disposition of a deceased, such as cremation or burial. It is also a function for the community to come together a time of grieving and contemplate the life of the deceased person. Often, funeral homes and cremation service providers have the various option of how you can hold your funeral for your loved one. Seek their help if you need assistance in decision making.

In the past, bereaved people would take a walk in a funeral procession to the gravesite; today, people use automobiles. Either all friends and families will use vehicles, or they will still observe the custom of walking behind the hearse.


The phrase wake, at the beginning used to signify a prayer vigil. Over several years, its association with prayer has become less important, even though not lost entirely. In numerous countries, a wake is now typically associated with the social intercommunications accompanying a funeral.

The wake, or occasionally described as an event after the funeral, is a time to grieve the death of the person who has passed away and, also to commemorate their existence. Commonly, it’s a moment when friends and family come to pay their respects to the departed. Attendees are lined up to offer their condolences to the family members.


All countries have their very own set of superstitions that lots of people still followed until today. In the US, we have our own set of superstitions¹ to adhere to when doing a visitation or funeral.

– Stop counting the number of vehicles in a funeral procession. It’s assumed to be bad luck. A few feel that doing this will show the number of years you have remained to live or will take a year off your life for each and every vehicle you count.

– Family widows or members should only put on black for one year. It signifies grief or loss.

– Relative should not say thank you to people offering their condolences. It is presumed that you are saying thank you that somebody is dead.

A black cat with yellow eyes on the porch

– When you bump into a black cat right after attending a wake, it just doesn’t refer to misfortune, and some people say it signifies that you’ll be the next to die.

– When resting, youngsters should dress in red or anything with red. Being dressed in red will stop the deceased from visiting them. Youngsters often tend to get ill or have nightmares.

– For adults, it is avoided to put on red bright-colored clothes. When attending a funeral or a wake, one should use dark-colored clothes as a sign of grieving.

– Pregnant ladies are not permitted to take a look at the casket or even head to the burial. It is believed that they will have a complication giving birth or even miscarry their baby.

– Women on their period should not come by any wake or attend a funeral. They will experience foul-smelling menstruation each month.

About Jowell Aliwin

About Jowell Aliwin

Joel has been in the funeral and cremation industry for about 20 years. Through his extensive experiences, he shares what he knows about funerals and cremation through blogging and writing for other sites.

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