Funerals are and will always be challenging for the person's loved ones or even for someone's friend who lost an individual who meant the world to them.
The complex emotions that come with losing a person and coping with them can be physically as well as emotionally draining for everyone involved.
However, we must understand that it's all part of life, and arrangements for a proper goodbye must be handled promptly.
That said, if you're planning a funeral service for your loved one who recently passed away, or you're making preparations early on, or rather someone who's never been to a funeral service before, and you don't know what to expect, then you're at the right place!
The question "How long is a funeral?" may vary depending on certain factors such as the type of funeral services that the family of the deceased agrees upon, the rituals and customs they wish to practice, delays according to the wishes of the family, and friends, the deceased's wishes, etc.
These are just some reasons why a funeral service could be shorter or longer, but in most cases, an average funeral service would usually wind up in an hour.
Whether you're attending a funeral service for the first time or preparing for a loved one's final passage, here's what you need to know.
Read on to find out what to expect, the different types of funerals practiced depending on communities and religion, and how long funerals should and usually last!
How Long Does A Wake Or Viewing Last?
While the two have distinct differences, the terms are often used interchangeably, and this service is held before the main funeral service.
If you've never been to a Viewing, it's usually an informal drop-in event for families and close friends to view the body and pay their respects to the deceased and their family.
Viewings or wakes typically held will last several hours, but vary based on the deceased's religious and cultural practices, they can last for several days, viewing, mourning, and sitting with their loved ones.
However, if you're preparing for a loved one's funeral service and want to hold a viewing, understand that each funeral home has generally different sets of rules regarding the timing.
Some funeral homes would allow a number of hours without an overnight choice, while some funeral homes offer family and friends of the deceased to stay with the body overnight.
Suppose you're planning to hold a viewing with your own set of timelines based on family and friends' preferences or traditional and cultural practices. In that case, it's best to hold it at a relative's house or somewhere where it's possible with no time limit.
How Long Is A Funeral Service?
As we've mentioned, most Western funeral services usually last anywhere from forty-five minutes to an hour regardless of a burial or cremation.
However, funeral services are highly personal and few factors dictate the duration of the entire service such as religion, culture, friends and family wishes, the deceased's will, etc., making the duration longer than usual.
Regardless, if you're wondering what goes on in an average funeral service, here's usually what happens:
Entering The Location
Each guests are handed a printed program of what to expect at the service as they enter.
Usually, the funeral service held, begins with an introduction by a religious leader, officiant, or clergy, offering their condolences and respect to the deceased's family and setting the tone.
Scriptures Or Reading
Friends and relatives of the deceased or the members of the clergy usually do readings which include holy scriptures, quotes, poems, or psalms.
The service offers enough time for friends and family of the deceased time to share words and memories of the individual as a tribute and to honor their lives.
Hymns Or Songs
The hymns or funeral songs play a crucial role in most funeral services and are sung or played in between parts of the funeral service.
The Funeral director or the officiant offers final words for the deceased to end the ceremony.
To The Grave
After the conclusion, casket bearers (pallbearers) or the staff present at the funeral usually carry the casket to the hearse, which carries the casket to the burial site.
Depending on the wishes of the deceased, the individual's family and friends, and other factors mentioned, here are other services that traditionally take place after the main funeral service is held.
Reception Or Post-Funeral Reception
After the internment or the main funeral service is held, any family member or close ones can attend this post-funeral service to celebrate the deceased's life.
Most people or many families usually make sure to have this type of service and it can last from an hour to two hours but may vary depending on the rituals, traditions, wishes, or cultural expectations.
However, if the family's wishes are to hold the reception service at a later date, it is welcomed. Most post-funeral receptions are usually held at a restaurant, banquet hall, or a relative's home.
Burial Site Service
Burial site service or graveside service are usually short ceremonies compared to the main traditional funeral services done by most funeral homes or churches.
The casket is taken by a hearse to the desired location and depending on religious beliefs; mourners, many guests or less, and families may attend the burial service and say short prayers or words as the casket is lowered to the ground.
On average, these types of events or services last fifteen to twenty minutes.
How Long Does Other Types Of Funeral Service Usually Last?
We're well aware that most families opt for other types of funeral and other ceremonies as well, depending on factors like religion, traditions, wishes, cultural expectations, etc.
Hence, we've listed some of the other religious funerals and other services in general, and how long these ceremonies usually last.
Memorial service is usually held when the deceased's body is absent and may last longer or shorter depending on the itinerary of the events planned.
Meaning, average memorial services last an hour but it can be longer depending on the number of people that intend to speak during the ceremony.
That said, smaller memorial service can last from fifteen to twenty minutes.
Similar to a traditional funeral service that ends with burial, an average cremation service lasts thirty to sixty minutes depending on traditions and types of ceremonies preferred.
However, it could last longer if the family wishes to scatter the deceased loved one's ashes as part of the funeral or service.
Catholic Funeral Mass
Compared to Christian funerals, the catholic church offers a special religious service for the deceased called a requiem mass, if included, could make the catholic funerals last more than an hour.
However, while most people go with their culture of adding the requiem mass to religious funerals, the church allows them to exclude it. So depending on the deceased person's will or their loved ones' wishes, catholic funeral mass lasts anywhere from thirty to forty minutes.
Most orthodox Jews today prefer ceremonies that are simple so Jewish funerals usually end with a burial that lasts anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes.
However, depending on factors like the denomination that is willing to follow common traditions and the will or wishes of the deceased person, Jewish funerals could last even longer.
If the funeral service follows up with silent prayers, reading the Torah, eulogies, and other traditions, Jewish funerals could last up to 40 minutes or more.
Compared to most religious funerals, Muslim funerals are often shorter since they don't add Eulogies to their itinerary.
A typical Muslim funeral or ceremony lasts thirty to sixty minutes or shorter depending on the traditions followed by the deceased person and their loved ones or by the region they are from.
That said, a typical Muslim funeral in America usually tends to be short and includes readings from the Quran and a short prayer ceremony before burying the loved one.
Much like a Muslim funeral, a Hindu funeral is usually shorter than other religious funerals, but the loved ones of the deceased, if willing, can hold longer ceremonies.
On average, a Hindu funeral can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes or less.
That said, a Hindu funeral also known as Mukhagni prevented relatives or close ones who were women from attending but times have changed, and are now allowed to attend and properly mourn their loved one's death.
Funerals are never easy for anyone who's mourning the death of a loved one and attending these ceremonies could equally be nerve-wracking if you don't know what to expect or what happens during these events.
A funeral service is held to pay your respects to the deceased and their families so understanding how long or what goes on during these ceremonies will help you sit for the entire program and bid a proper farewell.
We hope this article helps!