Definition of a Funeral Wake

What is a funeral wake or sometimes referred to as a visitation? A get together of the surviving family members and friends for the purpose of honoring the deceased. It’s a time for sharing thoughts and memories in comforting bereaving family members. The wake is done usually the night before a funeral ceremony. During a wake the body of the deceased can be viewed by family and friends wishing to attend.

There is also a short ceremony that is more informal. It’s a time for family and friends to pay their final respects and goodbyes. The funeral home typically prepares the body for viewing.There is a starting time but often people come and go, it’s typically held in the early evening with many coming after work or school. During this informal setting often the supportive members of the family and close friends will share personal stories about the deceased. The purpose is to honor and strengthen the immediate family.

There can also be an informal ceremony and for religions such as the Catholic church, a rosary may be said along with a few Bible readings. Mainly, the focus is a time of sharing and remembrance. Most people at the wake dress in dark clothing to pay respects for the deceased representing a mourning type of attire. Although this is what is done traditionally, it is not set in stone and you may dress as appropriate for such an occasion.

You may also take pictures of the deceased within the casket if there is an open viewing.

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