The funeral ceremony is one of the saddest occasions. It is when reality hits home for many people as they begin to accept that their loved one is no more.
Some people refer to this ceremony as “the goodbye” since it is the time we say our final farewells.
But traditionally, it’s known as The Committal.
Should Curtains Be Closed on the Day Of The Funeral?
The decision to close or open curtains on the funeral day depends on an individual. For some people, keeping the curtains closed symbolizes a lot more. But for some, it may not be that weighty. Plus, it also depends on your origin and what you believe in. If you want to keep your curtains closed, you need to know the meaning behind this practice. Otherwise, no one will condemn you for opening yours.
Why Do Some People Close Curtains?
When you visit a crematorium, you will notice that they hang the curtains closed the same way they do around the coffin.
So, people get confused about whether to close or hang them during the funeral ceremony because of this practice.
Closing the curtains serves various purposes.
It can be a way of saying your final goodbyes in a manner that suits the deceased’s beliefs.
By doing so, you are keeping a close relationship with them, even though they are in a different world.
Some people also decide to close the curtains to express gratitude for having the deceased as part of their lives.
This is believed to be an appropriate way of being thankful. In other places, closing the curtains is a ritual symbolizing the death of the deceased.
Advantages of Closing Curtains
When people decide to close the curtains, it symbolizes that the person who died has left them.
The coffin disappears while they are still in the ceremony and cannot be seen in some traditions.
So they are left to mourn their loved one and accept the reality of death.
In most cases, the dead person was sick for a long time or their health deteriorated, and they spent their last months or years in a nursing home or a care facility far from their home.
In such a case, it’s easy to keep the curtains closed and allow the person to leave us the last time.
So, mourners will not feel they left them behind again as they did in the nursing home or hospice, which can be too painful to bear.
So in a way, it is a consolation method.
Additionally, closing the curtains can be helpful to someone struggling to accept the new reality.
It symbolizes the finality of the death of the person that we once knew and loved. It shows that they are no longer with us and, therefore, time to accept this new reality.
Also, note that sometimes closing the curtains allows us to get into the sadness, which is the occasion’s mood.
Sometimes it may be challenging for one to grieve since they haven’t accepted the reality.
But when they see the curtains closed and understand the meaning behind them, they can mourn their loved one. In this way, they can get some sense of relief instead of holding things inside.
Why You May Want to Open Your Curtain
As we have earlier said, closing or opening the curtains is an individual decision.
Both have meanings behind them. Some people choose to open the curtains to allow the deceased to stay with them for longer.
Touching the coffin for the last time when leaving the ceremony space, laying flowers/herbs, or saying something like a goodbye or final expression of love are ways people get to accept reality and live the last moments with the person who died.
Doing these things allows them to feel like they have some control over how their relationship with the dead ends.
So, they leave them first instead of the person that died leaving them first.
Leaving the coffin behind where the funeral ceremony is being celebrated symbolizes that we’ve allowed the deceased to go.
It’s like accepting the sad reality that we have to continue with our lives without the deceased and knowing that everything will be okay.
Covering Mirrors at a Funeral
Christians and Catholics often turn the mirrors to face the walls.
This is to cover the deceased’s physical body and soul.
Some people believe that when you stare in the mirror for some time, you’ll notice the devil looking over your shoulders.
In other traditions, the mirrors trap the deceased person’s soul.
Mirrors are usually covered with black material to allow the dead to transition smoothly into the afterlife.
A Quick Guide to What Happens at the Funeral Ceremony
The deceased’s body is transported to the funeral service in a hearse on the funeral day.
If there are followers or photos selected, they’re placed alongside their coffin.
Usually, a car procession follows behind the hearse. These cars often carry the deceased’s close friends or family members.
Once they reach the place where the ceremony is conducted, individuals can begin to walk in.
There isn’t a standard order of who walks in first, so it’s primarily up to the family to decide.
But most times, the next of kin walk in last.
Family members and close friends of the deceased sit in the first row close to the coffin.
But other families can decide who sits there.
The order of service varies in different funerals.
It is up to the bereaved family how the service will go.
However, most times, there is a funeral procession in which pallbearers carry the coffin to where the service is held.
Then there is a ceremony that lasts for 30-45 minutes, usually conducted by a clergy member or celebrant. The service can take longer depending on the denomination.
After, a committal service marks the end of the ceremony.
The deceased is taken away to be buried or cremated, and it may be at a different location.
After the funeral service, family members wait for guests to leave the funeral before they also exit the venue.
You mustn’t wear black on the funeral day. But, wearing it is a show of respecting the deceased.
Bright colors can send the wrong message and impression.
Also, you may want to avoid asking a lot of questions to the bereaved family unless it is necessary.
Make sure to stand when other people are standing and sit when seated.
Don’t take any drinks or food to the cemetery.
Don’t laugh, run or play as well. Lastly, do not sit on gravestones. All these are not to provoke or send the wrong message to the deceased’s family or guests. Also, it is a way to respect the person who has died.