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History of the Funeral

History of the Funeral

Members of a society have cared for their dead as long as history has been recorded. Societal norms and religious customs usually influenced these rituals. In the United States, funerals have historically followed a prescribed religious ritual or had at least some religious element as part of the service.

Typically, the most common funeral format included a period of viewing or visitation when the community could gather to pay their respects to the deceased and offer comfort to the family. Many years ago, it was tradition to have this gathering at the family’s home.  As time passed and the population became more centered in developing cities, there became a need for places that allowed the public to gather so they may honor the dead in addition to persons with specialized skills to help people care for their loved ones. Thus the modern funeral home and funeral director emerged to serve the needs of their community.

While funerals were mostly held at churches, with time there also emerged a trend to hold the service in the funeral home for convenience sake or if the deceased was not affiliated with a local church. Funerals remained events that reflected the religious tradition of the individual.  Services concluded at a cemetery where the deceased was laid to rest.

Today, there are many options available to you when honoring the life of a loved one. Whether you choose cremation or casket burial, your options for services and merchandise are exactly the same. You may choose to have a viewing or visitation with the casket present, or a service at your church or funeral home followed by the cremation process.

Whether you choose a religiously themed service or one that reflects a specific aspect of your loved one's life, your funeral director is prepared to help you understand your options and plan a tribute that is both meaningful and appropriate.