What is the difference between a Funeral Service and a Memorial Service?
It may just be semantics but if a funeral home knows the proper terminology, they might as well use it and the public might as well know what it is, right? A Funeral Service implies that the body will be present for the service, so one can expect to see a casket. A Memorial Service should let the attendee know that the body will not be present for the service. Cremated remains can be at a Memorial Service, but the public should not expect any viewing of a body or going to a cemetery afterwards. Of course, there can always be exceptions. Sometimes someone will read where a there will be a Memorial Service at the Funeral Home and immediately following there will be an inurnment at a local cemetery. In this case, the service would be held but the public would still be invited to the cemetery for the burial of the ashes or to be inurned in a columbarium at the cemetery.
A lot of churches are beginning to have their own columbarium’s for ashes. A columbarium is a niche or group of small spaces to house cremains. Some are above ground, and some are in the ground, but they are prefabricated small crypts for ashes.
If Funeral Homes can educate the public with industry jargon, hopefully the public will know what to expect when they attend the Service. Cremation is becoming more and more popular and is currently done by a majority of families for their loved one, in the United States. Many people create focal points where the casket once was at a church or Funeral Home Chapel.
The space in front of the podium or alter and a good term that people relate to is the “focal point”. Families will have enlarged pictures, an arrangement of flowers, sometimes an Urn and other memorabilia that was important to the deceased. Fishing Poles, skis, hats, jackets, have all been used at the focal point to draw remembrance to their family’s specific love, hobby, or personality.
Veterans typically have a pre-folded flag at the focal point to draw attention to the veterans’ service to our Country. Different military groups handle the flag detail in different ways. Some will simply come down and take the flag from the easel and let taps play and then present the flag to the family. Other groups will, take the flag from the easel, unfold it, play taps, and then refold it and present it to the next of kin or whoever the next of kin dictates to receive it.
Amarillo Funeral Homes appear to use the proper language when submitting obituaries to their website, but if you ever see an Amarillo funeral home that has not termed something correctly in the obituary or on the small bulletin that is passed out at a funeral, I think you could have some light – hearted fun with them.
So, how important is terminology? We don’t know but why not be correct when we can. It is the simple nuances of the English language that make our language difficult to learn and beautiful in the same manner.
A Memorial Service does not have the body at the service, whereas, a Funeral Service does.