Role of Funeral and Death Rituals Video

The funeral and other death rituals across various cultures and religions play not only critical roles in spirituality for the deceased but also play key roles in mental and emotional adjustment to the loss for the family and living.  Funerals for many help them acknowledge the loss and receive support and love from family and friends.  This is critical in adjustment.  Although it is the first step in a long journey, it does help individuals find some type of recognition of the loss itself.

The funeral helps one recognize the death. Please also review AIHCP’s Funeral Associate Program and Grief Counseling Program






Please also review AIHCP’s Funeral Associate Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. Also, please review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification.  Both programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking certification to enhance a career.



Please review the video below

Role of the Funeral and Cultural/Social Wakes in Grief Recovery

It is often said, funerals are for the living, the dead no longer need anything.  Funerals, wakes, and other cultural forms of communal grieving are all essential elements in helping individuals grieve the loss of a loved one.  It is a coming together where individuals can express sympathy and acknowledge the loss.  Research shows that cultures that emphasize communal grieving usually have far less prolonged grief disorders when the loss itself is not complicated.

Funerals and wakes help the bereaved accept the reality of death, mourn collectively, remember the person, and offer prayers for the deceased


Hence, funerals and wakes play a critical role in the bereavement process for the living.  While religious beliefs hold firm that these events are also spiritual and prayers are offered for the dead in the afterlife, the psychological implications of mental health for the living are obvious and clear.  The article, “Funerals: Study shows Irish wakes may help more with grief” by Matt Fox looks at how such communal events during grief help a higher percentage of individuals avoid complications in grief.  In regards to Irish wakes and grieving, he states,

The authors of the research, which has been published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress. said that “cultural differences with regard to death may be an explanatory factor” to the reduced levels of the disorder in Ireland. “For example, in Ireland, it is customary to hold a wake (i.e., social gathering prior to a funeral) during which family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and acquaintances can come to pay their respects and support the bereaved,” the authors said.”

“Funerals: Study shows Irish wakes may help more with grief”. Fox, M. (2023). BBC News.

To read the entire article, please access here


On the surface one may only spiritual needs of the deceased being met.  From a religious standpoint, prayers are offered for the deceased.  In Christianity, a solemn service of memorial and prayers is completed after prior to burying with ritual prayers said at the grave site.  Other Christian denominations, such as Catholicism, offers a Funeral Mass for the soul of the deceased as well.  In other cultures, days of prayer are also offered. In Hinduism, there are a series of days with various rituals to prepare the soul for the transmigration into the afterlife in finding a new vessel.  So the importance of the funeral and wake are still very spiritual for the deceased, but again from a psychological standpoint, the memorial of life, the gathering, and the funeral itself is very much for the living.

In various cultures, intense periods of grieving are granted to the deceased. Within Judaism, there is a series of days of grieving assigned for the family.  Other cultures have similar days of mourning.  Some cultures have very loud and mournful events where crying and waling is encouraged, while other cultures remain more reserved.  As seen above, the Irish themselves offer a wake prior to the funeral instead of merely after it.  The article by Fox, emphasizes the importance of how communal events that emphasize grief outwardly and permit individuals to express it are far more healthy in the long run.  Cultures, as well as individuals families, that express grief communally and come together have a far less chance of experiencing prolonged grief or even depression.

The Wake and Funeral

The wake and funeral is not only an expression of sadness for the entire family and a social expression of it, but it also aids the family in accepting the reality.  Many individuals may be in denial.  The funeral, calling hours, or wake give these individuals the ability to witness and come to terms with the reality of the death.   The funeral itself is the exclamation mark of the true end of one’s earthly life.  It verifies, it seals and ends all debate.  The person is no longer with us.  This permits individuals to accept but also find consolation with others in expressing the grief and pain.

The funeral in many ways is more for the living than the dead. It helps prepare the living for the long bereavement process. Those who grieve collectively are less likely to face prolonged grief and other grief disorders

In addition, the communal event permits others to cry together and to be there for each other.  Instead of grieving alone, one finds solace with others.  Others who may be experiencing a harder time are given the care and attention they need at the funeral.  The mutual support benefits all parties involved.  While its fine to celebrate the life of the deceased, it is important not to negate the mourning aspect with an overt toxic positivity.  Many events celebrate and remember.  Remembrance is definitely part of it.  It is also an important part of the entirety of the process in accepting the death.

It also gives recognition to the person.  It shows the love for that person.  This creates a sense of happiness in a way to see how many loved the deceased.  It can give comfort to the mourning that their closest loved one was treasured and loved by so many.  It is good to see how the deceased was so beneficial and important to so many other people.  This is especially beautiful for veterans, when the flag covers the casket and the shots are fired to the sound of a trumpet.

Funerals are for the Everyone

The misnomer that children should not attend a funeral is finally being dismissed as a myth.  Children should also be able to express their grief and witness the finality of a person’s life during a wake and funeral.  They can express their feelings, witness the finality, say goodbye, and share their feelings with others. It is an excellent example of life for children to be at a family members funeral.

Funerals again capture the finality of death and help others come to grips, find consolation, and the ability to move forward.  For those closest to the deceased, funerals are the first step to a long bereavement.  Those not as attached may shed a moment of sadness, but they are able to proceed in life well after the funeral, but for those closest to the deceased, the funeral is only the start of accepting the lost.  It helps, but it far from heals the open wound.


Funerals and wakes are key to healthy bereavement.  While some families may prefer to postpone it, the event itself, according to studies, helps prevent many prolonged grief disorders. They are mostly important for those who attend to come to grips with the loss.  The social setting helps others grieve together.

Funerals allow us to grieve collectively. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling and also its Funeral Associate Program


Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification, as well as its Funeral Associate Certification.  Both programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

Additional Resources

“Understanding the 6 Purposes of a Funeral”. Hospice Basics.  Access here

“Should We Celebrate Funerals?”. Doka, K. (2021). Psychology Today.  Access here

“Psychologist On Why Funerals Are Fundamental To Processing Grief”. Kelly, M, Doubek, J. (2020). NPR. Access here

“The Primary Emotional Purposes of a Funeral or Memorial”. Friedman, R. (2014). Psychology Today. Access here

Grief Counseling Training Video on Funerals and Grief


Funerals play a critical role in the grief process.  They allow an individual to mourn publicly, find support and acknowledge the loss.  It is an important step in the process but for the griever it is only the beginning. After the funeral and wake, many leave with condolences, but the individual griever is left with a year long process of adjusting to life without the loved one.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Training Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a Grief Counseling Certification.  Also please review AIHCP’s Funeral Associate Program

Please review the video below

Funeral Associate Certification Video on AIHCP’s Funeral Associate Program

Healthcare professionals and those with interest in the funeral industry can learn about becoming a funeral associate.  The program offered by AIHCP, covers the basics of the funeral industry and grief.  A funeral associate can work under a licensed funeral director and learn the trade before making the jump into the director position according to state guidelines.

Please review AIHCP’s Funeral Associate Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional standards.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

Please also review the video below on AIHCP’s Funeral Associate Certification

Funeral Associate Certification Article on The Psychological Importance of Funerals

Funerals are a critical social practice.  The service and social structure of it serves more the living than the dead, although many cultures incorporate religious and spiritual traditions and rituals to it that are important in their view to the soul. However, today we are only looking at the importance funerals play for the living as a social transitioning into acceptance of the reality of death.

For many, a funeral is critical in accepting the reality, but it is also a social convention where neighbors and loved ones can all share in the loss of a loved one, and not only grieve but celebrate the life of the departed.  This is critical in healing for the bereaved.

Funerals allow individuals to accept death and socially receive the support in their grieving process. Please also review AIHCP’s Funeral Associate Certification


The article, “Psychologist On Why Funerals Are Fundamental To Processing Grief” Mary Louise Kelly looks closer at the importance of funerals to the bereaved.  She states,

“Funerals and the rituals that go along with mourning that loss are really fundamental to a number of processes. They’re fundamental to how we mourn, to how we grieve, to how we reinforce social ties, to how we expand the social safety net in times of vulnerability and loss. And more fundamentally, they reflect what it means for us to be human and for us to love and for us to connect.”

To read the entire article, please click here

With Covid and the pandemic, it has been difficult for many to properly say goodbye to their loved ones.  Funeral restrictions have prevented this critical process of grieving.  No doubt it will also leave numerous psychological scars for years to come for those who were unable to properly say farewell to their loved ones.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification Program but also AIHCP’s Funeral Associate Certification.  Programs are designed for working professionals and provide a four year certification.

Funeral Associate Certification Article on Funerals and Grief during COVID

Funeral Directors face new challenges with grief during COVID.  Families who lose loved ones to COVID are unable to properly grieve.  Funerals are limited and public condolences are prohibited in many cases.  In addition, many families feel disenfranchised due to the stimga of COVID and the issues surrounding it.

Grieving and funerals during COVID face challenges for the bereaved to properly express themselves. Please also review our Funeral Associate Certification


The article from “Whats Your Grief”, “5 Ways Funeral Directors Can Help Families When A Death Is Disenfranchised” looks at in-depth regarding this issue.  The article states,

“Recently, the world has been focused on deaths from COVID-19. And these deaths certainly have the potential to be experienced as disenfranchised.  Notice I say “potential to be experienced as disenfranchised”. It’s important to note that disenfranchised grief is a subjective experience. People want, need, and receive different things from family, friends, and community. And it’s not a guarantee that everyone who experiences a particular type of loss will feel stigmatized or a lack of support and validation.”

To read the entire article, please click here

COVID has made grieving our dead difficult for not only those who die of it but for funerals in general.  Funeral Directors are faced with a new challenge of helping others express grief and find closure without traditional norms.  Please also review our Funeral Associate Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.


Funeral Associate Certification Article on the Cost of End of Life

End of life is not just about the loss of a loved one or the soon to come loss, but it is also a time for burial preparation.  End of life costs alone and care can be immense, but funerals and services can also cost alot.  Many individuals prepare for this event to lessen the burden on loved ones, others are completely unprepared.

The costs of funerals and end of life care can be in the thousands. Please also review our Funeral Associate Certification
The costs of funerals and end of life care can be in the thousands. Please also review our Funeral Associate Certification

The article, The Business of Dying: End of life choices and their costs”, by

“Death – it’s not an easy topic to discuss. The details of dying, such as burial versus cremation or selecting your final resting place, make many people uncomfortable. But, like it or not, it’s coming for all of us someday. And with death comes many choices. ”

To read the entire article, please click here 

Please also review our numerous programs regarding end of life, including Grief Counseling, Pastoral Thanatology, and finally Funeral Associate Certification

Funeral Associate Certification Article on Funeral and Grief

A funeral is a rite of passage.  It is something that is religious and sacred but also something that is very sad.  It is a rite of passage for the deceased but a time of great pain, agony and suffering for the surviving family.

Please review our Funeral Associate Certification and learn the roles they play
Please review our Funeral Associate Certification and learn the roles they play

While it is important to make this sad day perfect, in regards to religious rites as well as visiting hours, the service and wake, it is equally important to make sure the individuals and family grieving the deceased also are dealing and coping in a productive way.

The funeral itself is beyond just a rite of passage for the deceased, but also a social venue for the grieving family to find solace but also finality.  For many it is the beginning of a long process of adjustment, accepting the reality of death and moving forward.

In this social event, family and friends are able to grieve openly and also check on others who share in their grief.  It permits those who may be suffering internally to be given a chance to express sorrow and also be looked after by other surviving family.  It is a gauge for the entire and collective health for the family a whole.

Some within the circle of family and friends may heal and cope quicker.  At the wake, they may share old stories of the deceased and begin commemoration the loss in a healthy way.  Others may need more time to grieve and be held and listened to.

In this array of emotions, individuals start the healing process at the funeral.  This is why, it can truly be said, the funeral is more for the family than the deceased.  True it is a remembrance of a life, a time to be grateful for that life and wish that life a successful transition into the afterlife, but for many, the funeral is about accepting that farewell.

Accept for the necessary prayers and religious rites, the deceased is at peace.  It falls upon the function of the funeral and its rituals to help others accept that peace as well.  In this way Funeral Directors, Funeral Associates, Pastors, Ministers, and Grief Counselors can all play roles of the day and after in helping the bereaved move forward.

It is true that after the funeral and the many cards in the mail, the true grey period of bereavement arrives, in which one learns the long lesson of adapting to life without the deceased and writing for oneself a new chapter.  This is a long process, but the funeral sets the foundation for this long process to begin.

It is important to remember the grieving throughout the year and even years after as they overcome the loss in their life.  Too many times, one dismisses another’s grief a few weeks after the funeral, thinking one should simply “get over it”, but the if one truly understands the nature of grief, then one will realize that the funeral is only the first step in a long process.  A process that will involve future holidays without the deceased, as well as multiple anniversaries that only re-stir the emotions of loss within a person.

If you are interested in learning more about Grief Counseling or becoming a Funeral Associate, then please review our Grief Counseling and Funeral Associate Certifications and see if they match your academic and professional needs.

In the meantime, we need to see the critical importance the funeral plays as a social construct to help the grieving accept death but also as a way to help the healing process, but grief care cannot end there but is an ongoing process that goes well beyond a few weeks but sometimes beyond a year itself.  We need to remember that the sting of loss never dies with grief counseling, it just becomes more bearable.

10 of the world’s most scenic cemeteries


American Institute Health Care Professionals’ insight:

Its Halloween and we usually expect to see the classic spooky grave yards, but CNN today listed some of the world’s most beautiful and scenic cemeteries in the world.

It is nice sometimes to think of a death and rest as a sacred and beautiful thing.  When people come to see their loved ones, they can rest and meditate upon their loved ones and offer prayer.

If you are interested in a funeral associate certification, then please review the program.  After taking the core required courses, you can become eligible to become certified.  The certification in Funeral Associate lasts for three years and can be renewed thereafter.  You will need over five hundred hours of practice and fifty hours of continuing education.

As a certified funeral associate, you will be able to help the funeral director with the daily needs of the funeral home.  While you may assist him in more detailed procedures, you will most definitely be able to run daily routine with customers and address their needs.  We also recommend becoming certified in grief counseling to compliment this position.

In the meantime, please enjoy our blog and if you have any questions, please let us know


See on

Funeral Assistants: The Role of Grief Work in the Funeral

Funeral Assistants: Do People Need to Partake More in the Funeral?

The role of a funeral director and sometimes a funeral assistant is to plan the funeral.  Yet, is this good for the person and their recovery over a loss?  We tend to think that allowing a person sometime to himself is the best answer to recover but studies show a person who takes an active role in the funeral accepts the reality quicker and adjusts in a more healthy fashion.
This is because they are putting their grief to work.  They are acknowledging the death and utilizing their sorrow in a positive fashion.  The work of ordering flowers, display and food arrangements help allow the person to have some control in this sad movement and also allow the wife, husband, daughter or son to give back to their beloved and lost
While we cannot force the issue, we can encourage a small part to be played for those grieving the loss of their loved one.  In this way, the funeral assistant is not only performing a service for the deceased but also playing a critical role in grief support.
If you are interested in learning more about funeral assistant certifications, then please review the program.