Attending a Religious Funeral
Attending a funeral when you are unfamiliar with the religious customs of the deceased may seem daunting. There will likely be elements of the service that you are unsure of. But there is no reason for that to keep you from attending and paying your respects. Regardless of the religion, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your attendance is comfortable for you and the bereaved.
- Do a little research. It doesn't take much. Googling simple phrases like "Catholic funeral customs" or "What to do at an Orthodox Jewish funeral" should give you a good starting point. Don't worry; as an attendee, not much will be asked of you other than to blend in and follow along.
- Pay attention. Some services may expect you to sit, stand, kneel, or pray at certain times. Follow along by paying attention to the people around you.
- Dress appropriately. Do a little research into what might be expected from you as far as dress code. If you're not sure, it's best to stick to modest clothing in dark colors. Outfits that cover the shoulders and knees are best.
- Don't feel the need to over-participate. For instance, you don't have to memorize prayers you don't believe or take Holy Communion. Be silent, still, and respectful if you're unsure what to say or do.
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