Customs & Religions

Protestant, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian and Baptist ceremonies-
Appropriate expressions of sympathy include sending a card, attending the visitation or funeral, sending flowers to the family home or funeral home, donating to a charity designated by the family, or bringing food to the family's home.

The Protestant funeral ceremony emphasizes the afterlife and celebrates the deceased person's life through testimonials and remembrances. A minister usually conducts the service with participation from family and friends. Funeral guests should dress respectably, although most people no longer wear the traditional black clothing.

Roman Catholic-
Respectable and somber floral arrangements may be sent to the funeral home or to the family's residence. Donations are appropriate and may be sent in the name of the deceased to their charity of their choice.Before the funeral, Catholics hold the Vigil (wake). Candles and flowers decorate the wake, as well as the funeral service and the burial ground. It is customary to make a brief visit and spend a few moments in private prayer and then to visit with the family members.Funeral Mass (Requiem) is performed in a Catholic church by a priest. At the Mass, lighting a candle to celebrate the departed will bring comfort to the mourners. After the burial, family and friends will gather at the home of a close family member to share food and drink brought by family and friends.

Hispanic Funerals-
Many Hispanics are of Roman Catholic background. The wake may include mariachis, overnight visitations and a family feast. Floral tributes are welcome. A simple bouquet given to the bereaved or a tribute in the shape of a cross or a personalized candle makes an acceptable gift, as does lighting a candle in the church. Personal items and gifts may be laid in the casket to help the deceased have a successful journey to the after world. Burial follows the ceremony. Following the burial, the family usually gathers to eat, reminisce and comfort each other. Mexicans and Central Americans believe there are days when the dead return to walk among us and that their loved ones' bodies have died but that their spirits live on. They pray to them, talk to them and turn to them for guidance and support.

Jewish Funerals-
Charitable donations are fitting memorial gifts, please note that flowers are not appropriate. The service is performed by a rabbi and and burial takes place within 24 hours of death. Funeral attire consists of dark-colored clothing. Men wear a head covering known as a Yamaka. After the burial, the immediate family sits in mourning or sits Shiva in their home for the next seven days. It is customary for family, friends and coworkers to come by the home and pay their respects to the family, this is known as paying a Shiva call. Desserts, fruit and Kosher food baskets are traditionally taken to or sent to the home, however, flowers are not appropriate for a Shiva call.

Buddhist Funeral-
White flowers are the traditional Buddhist flower of mourning and may be sent to the family. Sending red flowers or gifts of food are considered poor funeral etiquette. A donation to the family or a designated charity in the name of the deceased are appropriate. At the viewing, candles and incense burn until the body is moved to the cemetery or crematorium. Visitors should greet the family and offer their condolences, then go to the casket and bow. They may then either stay for a while or leave. Visitors will often make a financial donation to the family at the viewing.
The funeral service is conducted by a monk at the funeral home. Guests are expected to bow slightly toward the body (in an open casket) as a sign of appreciation for its lessons regarding impermanence. White is worn by the grieving family, friends often wear black.Friends may call at the home of the deceased's family after the funeral, but not before.

Hindu Funeral-
The service is conducted by a Hindu priest and family members. They try to hold the ceremony followed by cremation within 24 hours after death. Mourners dress casually in simple white clothes and arrive empty-handed, they do not bring flowers or anything else to the funeral. Guests should not exchange greetings with the official mourners, but instead nod or hug in sympathy, the least said the better. Flower garlands and mixed seasonal sprays of flowers may be in the open casket. Guests are expected to view the body.Ten days after death a ceremony is held at the home of the deceased in order to liberate the soul for its ascent into heaven. If you visit the home you are expected to bring fruit.

Asian Funeral-
In Asian funerals white or yellow mums are appreciated. In China, Japan and Korea, white chrysanthemums are symbolic of lamentation and grief. Yellow chrysanthemums are also a traditional funeral flower. In Chinese cultures, the family wears white at the funeral and does not wear any jewelry or red clothing, as red is the color of happiness. If you have any questions or concerns about sending funeral flowers to an Asian funeral, you might want to contact the funeral home or a family friend or relative who can provide you with more information.

Muslim Funeral-
Opinion varies as to the appropriateness of sending flowers to an Islamic funeral. Some say the Islamic emphasis on simplicity makes gifts of flowers unsuitable. Others say sending flowers is appropriate. Your best option is to ask a local religious leader or the family if flowers are appropriate. If they are, then fragrant flowers such as roses are very popular. Palm branches, other greens, or individual flowers are also often placed on the grave.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Mormon Funeral-
Floral tributes are encouraged and appropriate for a Mormon ceremony, but make sure you do not send anything with a cross on it. Crosses and the crucifix are not used in the Mormon religion. Funerals are conducted by the bishop of the deceased's congregation, typically within one week of death and may take place in a church, funeral home or at graveside. They are usually not held inside the temple. Usually, It is appropriate to visit or contact the family to offer condolences before and after the funeral. Modest attire (suit and tie for men; dress or suit for women) are appropriate. No head covering is required. Guests typically attend the burial following the funeral service.