The term “traditional funeral” refers to a time of visitation and/or casketed viewing of a deceased (when possible), followed by a funeral ceremony, and earth burial. The time frame of these scheduled events and whether they are public or private is strictly at the discretion of the family. Embalming is not required by law, but is necessary when a family chooses to have their loved one viewed by visitors. When a family chooses to have their loved one viewed in this setting, embalming is required. If a family declines embalming of the deceased, when possible a time for a brief private viewing and/or identification may be arranged.
Many people ask why embalming is necessary, and the answer is really quite simple. When a person passes away, the body begins a process of decomposition. Arterial embalming is a technique that allows licensed professionals to temporarily stop the body’s natural decomposition process, eliminating the need for immediate burial/refrigeration/cremation, and allowing families the option of inviting friends to share in viewing the deceased prior to final disposition.
In the most traditional realm, a visitation/viewing (usually two to four hours in length) is scheduled a day or evening before the ceremony; but families can choose to have a visitaion/viewing, ceremony, and burial within a single day if they prefer. Other options would be to have the visitation/viewing and ceremony one day with burial the following day, or schedule a time of private viewing and burial followed by a public visitation/memorial service; or even a simple graveside ceremony without or with viewing (weather may be a determining factor). Other circumstances that could affect scheduling are the travel needs and availability of the family OR the travel time between the place of ceremony and location of the cemetery.