An Introduction to Funeral Homes and Services 

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What is Funeral service?

Funeral service is a branch of the funeral industry. It involves providing or coordinating services for the ceremony, memorialization, and/or celebration of life that mark the end of an individual’s earthly life. 

These services may be provided by a local Funeral Service Provider (FSP) or through a funeral home specializing in funeral services or through other arrangements such as church organizations, societies, and clubs, ethnic groups such as Jewish communities affiliated to local synagogues, or Islamic burial societies.

If death takes place at home, it can be assumed that there will be no professional help available unless specifically requested ahead of time with undertakers or hospice workers who can provide advice on how best to accomplish this task. 

In addition to making all the necessary phone calls, a family will need to make preparations for a suitable last resting place. This may include decisions on casket, urn, and/or burial versus cremation.

Funeral service usually involves either:

  1. A memorial service without the presence of the body (sometimes called an “in absentia” funeral service) or;
  2. A graveside service that takes place some days after interment. In recent years it has become more common for funeral services to occur in places other than churches, such as parks or community halls.

Funeral service rituals

The ritual or ceremony involved often includes prayers (for example, the Lord’s Prayer), scriptural readings from the Bible (such as at a Catholic service), or other holy text (Jain services typically involve recitation of the Fifth chapter of the Acaranga Sutra). 

Speeches by those who knew or were closely associated with the deceased (sometimes called a eulogy), hymns played by an organist or sung by a choir, and sometimes even some light-hearted moments such as when attendees may be asked to share their own personal memories of the deceased which are then shared with others. Those who attend often leave a token of remembrance, usually flowers or some other memento.

Modern services

In modern times funerals often take place in a funeral home chapel. Still, it is becoming more common to conduct the ceremony elsewhere than a church building with a scattering of the ashes into a body of water such as an ocean or river.

In the United States, Canada, and other countries, funeral homes are run for profit under unique management systems in each country. In the US, it is known as “provider-based,” while in Canada, it is called “corporate-owned” (the two types may also exist side by side). 


This means that a family looking to make funeral arrangements would need to select a funeral home from those who are members of their area’s local funeral service provider association (a large number of which have state-wide associations) and pay a set price for each item used in setting up the arrangements; this can include the provision of the clergy if required. 

Standard layout of the funeral service (i.e., a hearse, limousine(s),Cemetery plaques and flower cars [typically 1-3] are provided for transporting the deceased to the church and back; if a burial is planned, then additional vehicles will be needed to transport attendees).