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Differences between funeral service and memorial

Differences between funeral service and memorial

There are many ways you can choose to remember a loved one after they are gone. One is to hold a traditional service for them at a place of worship.
Some people often mistake this with holding a memorial. Though both honor the departed, they differ in some key ways.


A funeral service is held close to the person’s death. Often, this means a day after or within the week of the person’s passing. Since it may prove difficult to make arrangements in such a short span of time, a funeral home can provide you the necessary services.
By contrast, a memorial can be held at a more flexible pace. It can be within days, weeks or even months of the death. A memorial service can also be held in addition to a funeral service.
Naturally, this means that the body of the deceased will be present at the funeral service but not at the memorial. The burial takes place soon after the funeral service.


A church or chapel is where funeral services are usually held. Traditionally, a funeral service refers to a graveside burial service. However, since people often opt for cremation more frequently now, the funeral service is conducted at the chapel where the loved one’s ashes will be present in an urn.
A memorial service can be held anywhere. As the body of the deceased won’t be present, their loved ones can gather at a place of their choosing to commemorate their life. Some options include family homes, community centers, parks, a religious place of worship or even the beach.


A funeral service is regarded as a somber, subdued affair. Attendees wear formal clothes and refrain from making commotion. Prayers are said for the departed’s soul and eulogies are read. The traditional way is to ask a religious leader such as a priest to conduct the funeral service.
When it comes to memorial services, they can be informal and highly personalized. Anyone can conduct the memorial services and there isn’t a set of guidelines that needs to be followed. Loved ones can give speeches in honor of the deceased, play videos from their life; even songs aren’t off limits at a memorial service.
Memorial services seek to celebrate the life of the departed instead of mourning for them. They are a way to pay tribute to someone’s memory while keeping it alive. As a result, the speeches tend to be more lively, humorous and joyful.
Whether you believe a funeral service or memorial service is more appropriate for your loved one, it’simportant to allow yourself time to grieve.

If you live in the state of Miami, funeral and memorial arrangements can be made for you by National Funeral Homes.

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