A funeral is a ceremony marking a person’s death. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from the funeral itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honour. These customs vary widely between cultures, and between religious affiliations within cultures.
Within Australia, in most cultural groups and regions, the funeral rituals can be divided into three parts: visitation, funeral, and the burial service
At the visitation (also called a viewing or wake) the body of the deceased person (or decedent) is placed on display in the coffin (also called a casket). The viewing often takes place on one or two evenings before the funeral. The body is traditionally dressed in the decedent’s best clothes. The body may also be adorned with jewellery, including a watch. The jewellery and watch will remain in the casket for burial, but they might be removed before cremation.
A memorial service / funeral can be officiated by a Celebrant. It may take place at either a funeral home, crematorium or graveside. A funeral is usually held three to five days after the death of the deceased.
A burial service is conducted at the side of the grave, tomb, mausoleum or crematorium, at which the body of the decedent is buried or cremated at the conclusion.
In many traditions, a meal or other gathering often follows the burial service.