Death is a devastating experience for anyone to go through. As we carry out certain funeral rituals and rites to say our final goodbye, it is also a process for grieving. Memorial and funeral services are more commonly carried out to help us honour the deceased in a final send-off.

But what is the difference between a funeral and a memorial service? Essentially, a funeral service is held to honour the deceased while the body is present. A memorial service is simply a time set aside to memorialize the individual without the body present.

Read on and discover more on the differences between the two terms.

Funeral services

Funeral services are often held soon before the burial or cremation of a deceased person. During a funeral service, the body of the departed is present at the same venue which could be at a funeral home or chapel.

Often, the program will include a eulogy, music, readings and other commemoration acts and symbols such as displays of memoirs, signing of a guest book, flowers among others. The main element is that in funeral service, the body of the deceased is present.

Funeral services in Singapore can also be held next to the graveside, or in the service hall within the crematorium awaiting disposition.

Another term often closely associated with funeral services is committal service. Commonly present in a Christian funeral service, this is a short ceremony held at the burial site or at the crematorium just before disposition. The leader, often a clergy member or the funeral director, will utter inspirational readings and can be followed by music, meditation or prayer. Then the casket is lowered into the grave or enclosed in the furnace.

Memorial services

The content, arrangement, and presentation of memorial services can at times be very similar to funeral services. However, the main difference is that during memorial services, the body of the deceased is not present at the venue. It is typically held after the funeral or cremation is over, and intended for family members, friends and well-wishers to honour the deceased through words and prayers.

Thus, memorial services are more flexible in terms of the content, time span, and arrangement. Since there are no remains present at the site of service, there are fewer restrictions on the venue. You can host a memorial service in a chapel, community centre, the deceased’s former favourite joint, or home and many other venues.

One can say that a memorial service is also a “celebration of life.” Here is where people focus on celebrating the life of the departed that offers a gentle outlet into the grieving and mourning process.

To conclude, when should you have a funeral and memorial service?

Many Singaporeans may wonder whether it is necessary to hold both funeral services and memorial services for their departed loved ones. It varies between families and a good funeral director in Singapore will assist you in the required arrangements for both ceremonies that will result in a beautiful send-off ceremony.