Indianapolis city, Indiana

A Brief History of Funeral Traditions August 14, 2018

A Brief History of Funeral Traditions, Indianapolis city, Indiana

Saying goodbye to a person that has passed can be a challenging experience for any family. For many individuals, the process of planning and participating in funeral traditions is a helpful way to start the grieving process and celebrate the life of a loved one. While families often forge their own unique traditions, here’s a guide to traditional aspects that your funeral director will assist you with. 

Understanding Funeral Traditions

Viewing or Visitation

In the early days of America and through the beginning of the 19th century, most families said goodbye to loved ones at home. Friends, neighbors, and other well-wishers would pay their respects by going into the home for a viewing or visitation. This led to the formal parlor room in interior design as families would display their finest possessions in the room where a visitation would eventually take place. As funeral homes began to grow in number and popularity, visitations started to take place off-site and as a result, current family homes typically have a casual living room as opposed to a formal parlor. 

Funeral Service

FuneralFollowing a viewing, the deceased’s body would be transported to a religious temple or church for the funeral service. This occasion was overseen by a worship leader with formal readings and passages from scripture. Now, funeral services take place in both churches and funeral homes, depending on the beliefs and wishes of the person who has passed. The casket or cremation urn is present for this event, and it typically takes place within a few days of the passing. 

Memorial Service

Memorial services are usually the most unique and flexible aspect of the funeral. While depending on the family’s schedule, the memorial can take place immediately following the funeral service; other times, it can be months afterward and at a location of your choosing. The casket or urn does not have to be present. Instead, this occasion, which usually includes refreshments, is meant for the guests to reflect, socialize, and remember their loved one. 


With three locations throughout Indianapolis, IN, Shirley Brothers Mortuaries & Crematory has been helping the local community lay loved ones to rest with respect and dignity for well over 100 years. If you’re looking for an honest, compassionate funeral director, this family-run business has the experience and demeanor necessary to assist with this delicate task. To discuss funeral plans, call their office today at (317) 897-9606 or visit their website to learn more about their comprehensive services and grief counseling resources. 

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