A funeral is often an uncomfortable situation. For this reason, there are universal guidelines to help anyone at a funeral or memorial service.
When a death occurs, how we act, what we say and do during that period can help assuage or add to the suffering of the bereaved.
Of all other social situations it is almost ‘compulsory’ to follow the proper etiquette for a funeral. Be sensitively aware of the feelings of others.
What To Wear
Dress in a manner that shows respect and honour to the deceased. Try to be as conservative as possible, and when in doubt, contact any member of the family.
Dark colours are the norm in many cultures. Avoid vibrant patterns and bright colours.
What To Say and What Not To Say
Keep your condolences short and be sincere. Do not try to monopolize the time of the mourners. Use brief expressions of sympathy like “I’m so sorry for your loss”.
A funeral is not a get together ceremony. You may meet long lost friends and relatives, but remember that the essence of the event has nothing to do with you.
Acting as though you just arrived at a party ground may very well offend the deceased’s family.
It is inappropriate to go up to the coffin and snap a picture of the deceased.
Be On Time
This is not the kind of event where you should arrive fashionably late for. Unless there is a genuine reason for doing so, lateness shows no respect at all.
Turn Off Your Phone
You can either leave your phone in the car, switch it off or turn it to silent mode during a funeral service. Imagine your phone ringing in the middle of a heartfelt tribute?
Ensure that your behaviour remains respectful even when the event has become less informal.
Follow Up The Kindness
A week later, you should check up on the bereaved. Send them gifts or anything else they may need.
Do Some Research
Different cultures have different funeral customs. Do some online research to avoid ‘doing as the Russians in Rome’.