Funeral customs are constantly evolving with the passage of time. For instance, inviting people to a funeral, which was once done exclusively by phone, is now often done by sending e-card invitations. Services that were once only held in religious institutions are now being held everywhere from favorite restaurants to parks. How did the funerals of the past compare with today’s customs? Here’s a look at some old funeral traditions that have disappeared.
Families Tending the Deceased
Before funeral homes were established, it was customary for families to tend to their lost loved one themselves. They would wash the deceased, dress them for burial, hold viewings at the house, and bury the person on family land. This practice began to change when families started calling cabinetmakers to create coffins for burials. Eventually, some cabinetmakers made coffins their full-time business, and funeral homes grew around those services.
New Preservation Techniques
Embalming is the norm today, but it only dates back to Civil War times. The practice was invented so that lost soldiers could be sent back home to their families for funerals and burial, and it has persisted. The first president to be embalmed was Abraham Lincoln.
Funeral Directors’ Expanding Roles
In the early days of the funeral industry, selling coffins was the main focus. As funeral homes expanded, they began providing other services, such as facilitating funeral planning and hosting visitations. Today, funeral directors must wear many hats. In addition to the practical support they offer to families, one of the biggest jobs for directors today is to provide emotional support for grieving families. They must listen to families talk about their feelings and offer referrals to grief support services as needed.
Today, Chapel of the Chimes is a full-service funeral home that can help with every aspect of funeral planning. From pre-need services to personalized memorials, we meet all of your needs in a single location. Get the support you need with funeral planning by calling our Hayward funeral home at (510) 471-3363.