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Featured Funeral Homes:
Rivera Funeral Home Inc
1908 Bathgate Avenue
Bronx, New York

Oak Dale Cemetery
Cemetery Patrick Avenue
Urbana, Ohio

Pisgah View Memorial Park Incorporated
Highway 19 23 S
Candler, North Carolina

Smith Bennie

Centreville, Maryland

Funeral Term Definitions


A FAQ of Common Funeral Terms

Embalming- To disinfect, preserve, and restore a body into a more lifelike and restful state.  Embalming is a chemical process that requires extensive training and chemical knowledge.  The purpose of embalming is to clean, and preserve a body which is no longer alive.  Embalming can prevent a body from decaying for several months (for a regular funeral) to up to several years (usually reserved for cases where a person has donated a body for scientific research) depending on the chemicals used and the skill level of the embalmer.

Viewing - The portion of the funeral service in which visitors arrive at the funeral home to visit with the deceased.  During a visitation the deceased is in a casket with the head portion open so that people in the room can clearly see the individual.  This is not always a pleasant experience for some.  Most funeral homes will provide a second room to the guests so that those with small children or those who are simply uncomfortable viewing the body are not forced to spend their time in the room with the open casket

Direct Cremation -A means of handling the deceased person's remains where there is no embalming, no service of any kind before the cremation.  To body simply travels from the coroner's office or hospital straight to the crematorium.  After the cremation the family can choose to have a service or a memorial at any time with the ashes present.

Direct Burial - A means of handling the deceased persons remains where there is no embalming, no service of any kind before the burial.  The body is collected from the coroner or hospital and immediately placed in a casket of the families choosing (usually a plain pine box) and buried.  The family may choose to have a grave side service after the burial is completed but are not generally allowed to view the actual burial of the body in this case.

Traditional Service - In North America a Traditional Funeral is defined as a three part funeral where there is a Viewing or Visitation followed by a Funeral, which is the church or religious aspect of the funeral, and finally a grave side service, where the family members meet at the final resting place of the body whether that be a grave, a niche wall, or another location.

Pallbearer - In a traditional service where the body will be transported from the funeral home to a religious building or to a cemetery or both, pallbearers are the family members or funeral directors who carry the casket into and out of the Hearse and into and out of the buildings.  In families where there are no family members who are strong enough or in good health to carry the casket the funeral home can often request that the funeral directors take their place and assist in transporting the casket.

Pre-Arranged Funeral – This is a fairly broad term that can mean different things in different situations. A pre-arranged funeral can be any type of funeral (direct cremation, traditional or otherwise) where the deceased made the arrangements before he or she passed away. Pre-Arranged funerals are common place for people with terminal disease, or those who simply do not want to leave their loved ones with the responsibility of paying for their funeral when the time comes. In the majority of cases a pre-arranged funeral is paid for long before the person passes away.

Funeral/Burial Insurance – Funeral or Burial insurance is much like Life insurance with the a few exceptions. In most cases the payouts range from as little as 1,000 or up to 25,000. Funeral/Burial insurance is separate from your life insurance and is usually a reserved amount of money dedicated to paying for ones costs after death. You might pay for the funeral, and any leftover debts including credit cards, student loans, car payments or other such payments that are due by the deceased. Unfortunately when someone passes away, their debts do not disappear, that is what Funeral/Burial insurance is great for.

Burial Permit – Burial permits are obtained usually by the funeral director in cases where the deceased is to be buried outside of the town or state in which they passed away. This is part of the process required for transporting a body out of the area in which they died. The body is generally embalmed before transport and the burial permit is a type of proof that the body will be buried at its end destination. The permit is issued by the receiving cemetery.

Restorative Art – Restorative Art is a mix of techniques used to ensure the deceased looks natural and restful during the funeral proceedings. Techniques may include facial reconstruction using waxes, make up, and other tools. There are a variety of other items used to help create the appearance of a natural mouth closure and restful eyes. In cases where the person appears very thin as a result of prolonged illness other techniques may be used to give a fuller healthier appearance.  

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