A wake is a gathering that occurs in connection with a death and can be held either before or after a funeral. Typically, a wake takes place a day or two prior to the actual funeral or memorial service and may also be referred to as a viewing or visitation.
During this time, there is usually an urn or casket present, and the casket may be open or closed. It is an opportunity for individuals to pay their respects and offer condolences to the loved ones of the deceased. It also provides a chance to connect with friends and family of the departed and perhaps share a cherished story or memory. Wakes are typically held at a funeral home, chapel, or even the family's residence. They can last a few hours, and attendees have the option to stay for a shorter period or for the entire duration. The decision to have a funeral wake is entirely up to the family's discretion. Prayer cards may also be distributed during the wake, visitation, or viewing. These cards serve as keepsakes that honor the loved one with a photo and a short prayer on the back. They can be handed out during the wake or at the funeral service itself.
Details regarding the funeral wake can be found in the newspaper obituary or death notice. Additionally, it may be necessary to inform friends and family of the wake or visitation date, time, and location via phone call or email. If the wake is intended for a private gathering, it is important to mention this in the obituary or funeral announcement. It may also be helpful to coordinate with the funeral home or funeral director to determine when the body will be prepared and when the facilities will be staffed and available.
According to Wikipedia, the term "wake" originally referred to a prayer vigil, often an annual event held on the feast day of the saint to whom a parish church was dedicated. Although the association with prayer has become less significant over time, it remains somewhat present. In many countries, a wake is now primarily associated with the social interactions that accompany a funeral. While the modern usage of the verb "wake" means to "become or stay alert," a wake for the deceased harkens back to the vigil, "watch," or "guard" of earlier times.
A funeral is typically more formal than a wake and is usually led by a funeral celebrant or religious figure. A wake, on the other hand, is more relaxed and focuses on bringing mourners together to remember the life of the deceased. It is not obligatory to attend both the wake and the funeral service, although it is considered respectful to do so.
During the wake, family and friends may share memories of the deceased and celebrate their life based on religious or personal preferences. Some grieving families may choose to organize an activity for mourners to participate in, such as planting a memorial tree, wearing a specific color in loving memory, writing entries in a memory book, or hosting a slideshow with pictures and videos of the deceased. However, other wakes may simply involve paying one's final respects to the departed. Any mourners who are unable to attend the funeral service may still attend the wake, including young children. It is also common for food and drinks to be served.
We hope that this video has provided you with some understanding of what a funeral wake entails and what you can expect if you decide to attend one. Don't forget to visit our online superstore for additional valuable resources and ideas for funeral programs, only available at thefuneralprogramsite.com!