The expression of grief that comes from losing someone takes many forms in various cultures and communities. These traditions and rituals help people find comfort and closure while honoring their loved ones. Here we take a brief look at common funeral service practices across five cultures and religions found in the United States.


The most prevalent religion in the country, the majority of funerals attended in the U.S follow Christian traditions. Prior to the funeral service a visitation is held where people can deliver their condolences to the grieving family. Depending on personal preference, the deceased is either in an open or closed casket or an urn containing the remains. During the funeral service, mourners eulogize their loved one, pray and sing hymns.


The funeral services for a Jewish person usually consist of prayer and readings along with one or more eulogies given by a loved one or rabbi. This can take place at a synagogue, gravesite or funeral home. After the gravesite service, it is traditional for mourners to place dirt into the grave. Following the burial, the family pauses their daily lives to gather and mourn for seven days, a period called “sitting shiva.”


A Mormon funeral is a serious but celebratory religious service with prayer, songs and sermon as well as tributes to the person who died. Before the service a short open-casket viewing is held for all mourners. After the service a bishop or member of the bishopric accompanies the family to the cemetery for the burial.


People of the Muslim faith believe the body of the deceased should be buried as soon as possible after death so no viewing is held. Funeral prayers are said by mourners at their mosque before traveling to the gravesite. Once at the site, everyone participates in the burial process by adding handfuls of dirt. Lastly, a simple marker is added to the grave.


U.S citizens who do not practice a specific religion often hold celebration of life events. Loved ones gather together, usually to share a meal of some kind, and remember the departed.

Death is one of the few things every culture in the world has in common. Although each community does things differently, they all honor the deceased and support those left behind. At Strouf Funeral Home & Cremation Services, we can guide you through making arrangements for your loved one that suit your personal preferences and needs. Contact us today to start planning.