Religious funeral services

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A religious funeral service is one that follows the beliefs and customs of a particular faith.

There are an estimated 10,000 religions practised around the world. Each has its own funeral traditions and beliefs about life and death.

This means different types of religious funeral services can feel very distinct. Some have an uplifting atmosphere and focus on celebrating the life of the person who has died. Others are quiet and serious occasions, where people pray to God and don’t show much emotion.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common religious funerals in the UK. We’ll also answer some common questions people ask about religious funerals.

Different types of religious funerals in the UK

Each faith has unique funeral traditions. These might be different to the ones you’re used to. If you’ve been invited to a religious funeral, it’s a good idea to do some research so you know how to behave and what to expect.

Here are a few things to note about how different religions deal with death.

Islam

Islamic funerals are also known as Muslim funerals. Muslims are people who follow the religion known as Islam.

Islamic funerals are quiet, solemn and very religious. Ceremonies consist of prayers, including Ṣalāt al-Janāzah – Islam’s main religious prayer for the dead. These prayers are led by faith leaders called imams. Muslims from the local community may go to a funeral, not just friends and family members.

After a funeral, Muslims enter a period of mourning. This usually lasts three days. During the mourning period, Muslims stay home and welcome visitors from the community.

Learn more about Islamic funerals.

Hinduism

Hindus believe in reincarnation, which means your soul is reborn as another living thing when you die. So while Hindus might feel sad at a funeral, they also celebrate that the soul is moving on to its next stage.

Hindu funerals happen in two stages. The first is a viewing, where people come to look at the body and chant Hindu prayers called mantras. The second is the cremation. Many Hindus go to the cremation, where they perform more religious funeral rituals.

Like Muslims, Hindus enter a period of mourning after a person dies. This usually lasts between 10 and 30 days.

Learn more about Hindu funerals.

Sikhism

Like Hindus, Sikhs believe in reincarnation, which means your soul is reborn as another living thing when you die. So while Hindus might feel sad at a funeral, they also celebrate that the soul is moving on to its next stage.

Sikh funerals happen in two or three stages. Sometimes, there is one service, followed by the cremations. Other times, there will be one service before the cremation and another one afterwards. During these services family and friends will say prayers, including Ardās, which is an important thanksgiving prayer.

Learn more about Sikh funerals.

Church of England

Church of England funerals are among the most common religious funeral services in the UK. They’re a kind of Christian funeral. You might hear people call them ‘Anglican funerals’ instead.

Church of England funerals follow a set structure but allow for some flexibility. They usually include hymns (religious songs) and prayers, as well as a eulogy. Funerals end with the committal, which is when people say their final goodbyes.

There is no formal mourning period after a Church of England funeral. However, Christians sometimes light candles as a way of remembering the person who has died.

Learn more about Church of England funerals.

Catholicism

As another type of Christian funeral, Catholic funerals are quite similar to Church of England ceremonies. The main difference is that Catholic services often include a Requiem Mass. This makes the funeral longer – Catholic funerals can last for up to two hours.

The Requiem Mass will usually feature several Bible readings and prayers. They also include Holy Communion, which is also known as the Eucharist. This is a religious ritual where Catholics eat wafers and sometimes drink wine. These represent the body and blood of Jesus.

Unlike Church of England funerals, Catholic funerals only feature religious music. Modern music isn’t allowed.

Do all religions have funerals?

As long as humans have existed, we’ve held funerals. Researchers have found evidence of funeral customs dating to around 300,000 years ago.

It seems that funerals are part of what makes us human, so all cultures likely have some way of honouring their dead. These funeral rites might be simple or complex, but they serve the same purpose – saying goodbye to a person who has died.

Which religions bury their dead?

Lots of religions prefer burial over cremation.

Some, like Islam and Orthodox Judaism, forbid cremation in almost all circumstances. Others, such as Catholicism and Mormonism, allow cremation but discourage it.

There are religions that prefer cremation and discourage burial too. These include Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

Do funerals have to be religious?

No. Funerals don’t have to take place in religious buildings or be led by a faith leader. In fact, you don’t have to have any religious elements at your funeral if you don’t want to.

More and more people in the UK are choosing a non-religious funeral. In 2019, 27% of people said they wanted a non-religious service, compared to 24% in 2018 (Co-op). That’s not a big increase, but it suggests that people are slowly moving away from faith-led funeral traditions.

There are two main types of non-religious funerals in the UK – humanist funerals and civil funerals.

Humanist funerals

These are strictly non-religious ceremonies led by Humanist celebrants. Humanist funerals focus on celebrating people’s lives and legacies. They won’t mention God and usually don’t include prayers or hymns.

Read more about humanist funerals.

Civil funerals

These can be religious, non-religious or a bit of both. Civil funerals are very flexible, so you can choose to include prayers and hymns or have a completely non-traditional service. Services are led by civil celebrants.

Read more about civil funerals.

More about religious funerals

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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