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Among Friends

Funeral or Wake?

Started 1362177219.147 in Among Friends | Last reply 1364523034.473 by Jeanhelen57

A dear friend's mother passed away a few days ago, and I hope some of you will give me your honest opinons about a simple question that I have.

Which is more important - the funeral or the wake? Obviously, they're both important and meaningful, but what I'm asking I guess is this: If it were your relative who had passed, where would you rather have people come - the wake or the funeral? Thanks to all who respond. I am very grateful. Kiss

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KYToby1362182159.8931416 PostsRegistered 2/19/2012

I would say the funeral, but in the interest of disclosure, I am Jeiwsh and we do not do wakes.

NYC Susan1362182329.024718 PostsRegistered 1/28/2007New York City and East Hampton, NY

I'm Jewish, too. That's why I'm asking. I've been to wakes and I've been to non-Jewish funerals, but I don't know which is considered to be more important.

My thought was the same as yours. I assumed the funeral was the big event, but I'm being told differently so I wanted to be sure. Thanks! I hope someone else responds because I have to make plans soon. Kiss

Mommy Dea­rest1362184746.4447 PostsRegistered 3/1/2013

In my opinion the wake. That's just me. I think the grieving family would appreciate you going to the funeral home to pay your respects.

"Listen carefully to how your friends speaks about other people. This is how they will speak about you to other people"

lolakimono136218476213903 PostsRegistered 3/29/2012

Are they on the same day?

How big is the family?

You will have more opportunity to see the family at the wake than the funeral, so if that's important to you then I would go to the wake.

NYC Susan1362186197.994718 PostsRegistered 1/28/2007New York City and East Hampton, NY

No, they're not the same day. The family is not large or small, sort of average-size, I guess. I probably can't go to both.

I'm not concerned with what's important to me. I really just want to do whatever they will see as most supportive. Kiss

lolakimono1362186363.7213903 PostsRegistered 3/29/2012

Well, then I would go to the wake. You could help with serving food, tidying up the kitchen, answering the door, taking coats, etc- whatever they might need.

Is there a viewing before the funeral? Sometimes the funerals (without viewings) can be large and you may not get an opportunity to see the family unless you pass through a receiving line.

NYC Susan1362186431.6234718 PostsRegistered 1/28/2007New York City and East Hampton, NY

Serving food and tidying up the kitchen? I'm confused. The wake is in a funeral home. Kiss

Mommy Dea­rest1362186513.25747 PostsRegistered 3/1/2013
On 3/1/2013 NYC Susan said:

No, they're not the same day. The family is not large or small, sort of average-size, I guess. I probably can't go to both.

I'm not concerned with what's important to me. I really just want to do whatever they will see as most supportive. Kiss


You will have more of an opportunity to sit and converse with the mourning family and offer them your condolences at the wake as opposed to the funeral. You can sign the guest book, send flowers to the funeral home and kneel in front of the casket. It's much more personal.

"Listen carefully to how your friends speaks about other people. This is how they will speak about you to other people"

lolakimono1362186819.13313903 PostsRegistered 3/29/2012
On 3/1/2013 NYC Susan said:

Serving food and tidying up the kitchen? I'm confused. The wake is in a funeral home. Kiss

Oh- that's not done here. Usually it's at a friend's house or relative's house, or at a local pub/restaurant. I went to one this summer for the father of an Irish colleague. His service was at an assisted living center and then we went to a VFW for the wake for lunch and "adult" beverages.

NYC Susan1362187443.0374718 PostsRegistered 1/28/2007New York City and East Hampton, NY

I've been to many wakes, and they've always been in funeral homes. Sorry - I forget there are geographical and other differences.

A friend just told me that the wake is more personal and the funeral is more of a blur. So I'm thinking the wake might be my best option, but would still appreciate opinions from anyone who has one. Thanks to everyone - I am very grateful for any help or words of advice. Kiss

magicmoodz1362189627.4675205 PostsRegistered 6/23/2008

Susan, if it is a dear friend, I would suggest attending the funeral. Wakes are a constant barrage of people coming/going with a lot of visiting in between. You will probably not be a pillar of support for your friend at the wake, as she will be too busy acknowledging visitors.

I view the funeral as a much more somber, formal affair. Oftentimes, the family and close friends meet with the priest/pastor in a private room just prior to the service beginning for some comforting words. Where I live funerals are usually followed by a luncheon either at the church or a private club or restaurant. In my opinion your support may be more important on this day.


I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.
~ Warren Buffett ~

NYC Susan1362189896.934718 PostsRegistered 1/28/2007New York City and East Hampton, NY

Thanks! Now I'm confused. I'm sure I'm over-thinking this, but I really want to do the right thing. I definitely see both points of view. Kiss

chandeliers1362189925.3934357 PostsRegistered 3/5/2008

At the wake you will be able to pay your last respects with the deceased and also speak with the family a tiny bit going through the line. Conversations there are usually quite short because of all the people in line.

You will be more able to speak with other friends and relatives because immediate family is usually up by the casket. (I guess they call it a receiving line at a funeral/wake.)

Many times after the funeral service (burial at cemetery) there is a reception held either at someones house, a club or restaraunt. There you will be able to speak with the immediate family and others in full.

Sorry you have lost someone. That's so caring of you to want to what means the most. Very thoughtful.

AnikaBrodie1362190618.5815267 PostsRegistered 1/29/2008The NE state of mountains and valleys

My nephew died this week and his funeral was today. The family had a one hour viewing prior to the service. They declined to have a wake the night prior.

Personally, I feel the funeral is more important than a wake. I also like the idea of a viewing one hour before the service for those who cannot attend a wake the night before. Support of the family (wife/husband, children, etc.) is important. Having said that I know people who will attend the wake but not attend the funeral meaning both are important.

Many times the deceased has told family they want a private funeral with immediate family only. Sometimes they don't want a funeral at all.

~~~The Silver Fox ~~~
“... We don't meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason..." (Anonymous)

NYC Susan1362191315.3334718 PostsRegistered 1/28/2007New York City and East Hampton, NY

Thanks for saying that, chandeliers. I appreciate everyone's responses. Just to clarify - I've been to wakes and I've been to funerals, so I know what happens there, how much time I would have to speak to the family, etc. What I'm finding out from replies here is that varies a lot, I guess depending where you live because some of what's been described has not been what I've experienced at all. In any case, I cannot attend the burial or go back to the family's home afterward, so it's really just wake vs. funeral (in case I can't do both).

I guess I'm asking because I've experienced loss, but I'm Jewish, so I know what was most meaningful to me but not what would be most meaningful to someone whose religion includes wakes. Thanks again to everyone. Kiss

Last edited on 3/3/2013

Last edited on 3/3/2013

lolakimono1362192466.7713903 PostsRegistered 3/29/2012

Ok, so the BF just came home and so I asked him your question (he is Jewish, FYI). He and I were born and raised in different parts of the country, and between us we have lived in seven states. He said he has ONLY ever attended a wake at a funeral home or restaurant- never a private house. When we discussed further, we had different definitions for your terms. I searched for consensus on the Internet, but surprisingly, there is none.

For me, I grew up with "calling hours" which took place (usually) the day before the burial. They could be twice in one day (afternoon for a few hours and again in the evening) where there would be a receiving line and a closed/open casket.

From the Internet, there is a difference between a "viewing- open casket" and a "visitation- closed casket".

The "wake" is supposed to be the night before (traditionally) where you stay up with the body to help it pass over... But many use "wake" to refer to the "festivities" that take place after the funeral. In previous times the casket would be at the house and people would come over to pay their respects into the wee hours. Some use the term "wake" as a pre-visitation at the funeral home before the funeral begins. It's a time to see the family and express condolences. For me, the wake is when the family goes home and people come over to toast to the memories of the deceased, eat together, and it goes on until people go home. So, it's sort of like shiva except just one day and "festive" with less formality than what you would expect at a funeral home.


NYC Susan1362193215.594718 PostsRegistered 1/28/2007New York City and East Hampton, NY

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate all of your help. Kiss

roe10051362193521.82612 PostsRegistered 11/9/2005New York

Hi Susan,

Sorry to read about your friend's mom.

Not to confuse you anymore than you need to be, but ...

when my mom passed away, most of my close friends came to her wake. We were able to spend some time, look at photos, etc. and I was able to tell the story behind the photos, video, etc. and talk about mom.

A few friends came to the funeral only, I barely said hello to them with the ceremony and then running off to the cemetary. If you are planning on going to the reception afterwards (assuming there is one), I would say funeral as you can spend some quality time with your friend.

If you are only going to the funeral mass, I would say go to the wake.

You say I'm a witch like it's a bad thing.

heartkeeper1362194040.0831944 PostsRegistered 1/27/2007

Both are important, but I would say the funeral. By going to the funeral you are seeing the person off to the very end of their earthly journey. A lot of people go to wakes and stay for a few minutes like they can't be bothered.

JamicaJamm­er1362194098.782344 PostsRegistered 1/14/2013

Unless it's a family or extremely close friend, most folks around here go to the "showing" or "viewing" which is often the evening before the funeral day, tho it's starting to be more common to have that time be just the 2 hrs prior to the start of the funeral.

Many people have to work and/or travel from another city, so that fits better in their schedule, as most funerals are M-F.

I

Last edited on 3/1/2013

Last edited on 3/1/2013

JamicaJamm­er1362194100.1132344 PostsRegistered 1/14/2013

Unless it's a family or extremely close friend, most folks around here go to the "showing" or "viewing" which is often the evening before the funeral day, tho it's starting to be more common to have that time be just the 2 hrs prior to the start of the funeral.

Many people have to work and/or travel from another city, so that fits better in their schedule, as most funerals are M-F.

I

JamicaJamm­er1362194100.8932344 PostsRegistered 1/14/2013

Unless it's a family or extremely close friend, most folks around here go to the "showing" or "viewing" which is often the evening before the funeral day, tho it's starting to be more common to have that time be just the 2 hrs prior to the start of the funeral.

Many people have to work and/or travel from another city, so that fits better in their schedule, as most funerals are M-F.

I

JamicaJamm­er1362194101.482344 PostsRegistered 1/14/2013

Unless it's a family or extremely close friend, most folks around here go to the "showing" or "viewing" which is often the evening before the funeral day, tho it's starting to be more common to have that time be just the 2 hrs prior to the start of the funeral.

Many people have to work and/or travel from another city, so that fits better in their schedule, as most funerals are M-F.

I

JamicaJamm­er1362194118.2432344 PostsRegistered 1/14/2013

Unless it's a family or extremely close friend, most folks around here go to the "showing" or "viewing" which is often the evening before the funeral day, tho it's starting to be more common to have that time be just the 2 hrs prior to the start of the funeral.

Many people have to work and/or travel from another city, so that fits better in their schedule, as most funerals are M-F.

I

JamicaJamm­er1362194119.3432344 PostsRegistered 1/14/2013

Unless it's a family or extremely close friend, most folks around here go to the "showing" or "viewing" which is often the evening before the funeral day, tho it's starting to be more common to have that time be just the 2 hrs prior to the start of the funeral.

Many people have to work and/or travel from another city, so that fits better in their schedule, as most funerals are M-F.

I

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