Memorial vs Funeral: Difference and Comparison

When a person dies, their departure affects their family and friends deeply. They arrange different ceremonies to honour the dead and cherish their memories.

Different types of ceremonies are observed in different parts of the world to honour the dead. People from different cultures have their kinds of ceremonies and events.

Key Takeaways

  1. A memorial is a ceremony or service to honor and remember a deceased person without the body present. At the same time, a funeral is a ceremony where the body is present for final rites and disposition.
  2. Memorials can be held long after the person’s death and allow for more flexibility in planning, whereas funerals occur shortly after the person’s passing.
  3. Funerals follow religious or cultural traditions, while memorials can be more personalized, reflecting the interests or preferences of the deceased.

Memorial vs Funeral

The difference between a memorial and a funeral is that funeral is observed during the cremation or burial process but the memorial ceremony is held after some days of the funeral. During the funeral, the body of the dead is kept in the casket. Friends and Relatives visit to pay their final homage to the dead person.

Memorial vs Funeral

A memorial ceremony is held after a few days of the funeral. It is observed to cherish the memory of the dead.

It is not formal, during the memorial ceremony, friends and family members reflect on the memories they had with the dead person. In some cultures, an urn with the dead person’s ashes is kept in the memorial ceremony.

The funeral is the event occurring right after a person dies. The body of the dead is cremated based on their cultural and religious views.

The embalmed body is placed in a coffin and kept for people to say their last goodbye. The funeral is formal, and people dress in black in some countries.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMemorialFuneral
Time heldIt is held before the burial process Held after a few weeks or months of the funeral
Purpose To pay respect to the dead oneTo cherish the memories of the dead
Events Prayers are said and burial is done. People also bring flowers to the funeralEulogies delivered, the speech was given, memories shared and prayers said
Location At the home or church In a favorite place of the dead
Post eventsA funeral reception is heldA memorial reception including the people who took part in the memorial service is held

What is a Memorial?

A memorial service is a ceremony held to reflect on the memories of the dead. It takes place after the body of the dead is cremated or buried.

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Memorial service takes place after one week to one year after death. Memorial ceremonies are held at the dead one’s home or in any other location with personal significance.

Since it is a ceremony to look back at the pleasant memories of the dead, the location may be their favourite park, beach, restaurant, church, etc.

Religious traditions may or may not be held. It completely depends on the family’s choice. Memorial ceremonies, which include a religious mass, are held at the place of worship.

The religious leaders conduct a memorial service in this case.

People come to a memorial ceremony to take part in the events occurring to ease the pain of the loved ones of the dead. It has no formal structure, and based on the preferences of the people organizing it some events are held.

People coming to the memorial deliver a speech about the memories they share with the dead, sing the dead ones’ favourite songs, play musical instruments, or say a prayer.

A reception is held after the memorial service. The venue is decorated with the dead one’s favourite flowers, and their favourite music is played in some cases.

Some people also have a Tea Party post-memorial ceremony.

memorial

What is a Funeral?

The funeral ceremony is held to honour the dead. People of different cultures follow different types of funerals.

Burial or cremation is also done during the funeral ceremony. It is formal and religious.

It is commonly led by a religious head. Prayers are said for peace.

Everyone comes together to pay respect to the dead. The body of the dead is cleaned and placed in a coffin.

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Prayers are said to give the soul a peaceful journey.

In some cultures, drinking and telling stories about the dead are also common. People dress formally and bring flowers to a funeral.

Roses are the most common flowers brought to a funeral. Lilies, Chrysanthemums, Orchids, Carnations, and Gladioli are also used.

Flowers are taken single, in the form of bouquets or Wreaths.

The body of the dead is cremated or buried right after the funeral. During the funeral, religious scriptures are read, and religious people say prayers.

People visit to show their sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of the dead.

After the funeral, a funeral party is held. This is the time for the family and friends of the dead one to come together in their honour.

Food is served, and it doesn’t have the formal aspects of the funeral. This reception is called a repast.

wake funeral

Main Differences Between Memorial and Funeral

  1. Funeral service is held before the burial or cremation process, but the memorial is held weeks or months after the funeral.
  2. The dead body is placed in a casket and kept for the loved ones to pay homage during the funeral, whereas the dead body is not present during the memorial.
  3. The funeral is a formal service held by the religious leader, but a memorial doesn’t have any formal code and is held in a simple way.
  4. The funeral is the time to pay respects to the dead while, and the memorial is the time to re-live the memories of them.
  5. Prayers are said during the funeral, but during a memorial service Eulogy, speech and memories are shared.
Difference Between Memorial and Funeral
References
  1. http://opus.uleth.ca/handle/10133/66
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.2753/AAE1061-1959450104

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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6 thoughts on “Memorial vs Funeral: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Although the article does a good job of distinguishing between memorials and funerals, the treatment of this topic seems rather too formal, considering it addresses sensitive and emotional ceremonies.

    Reply
  2. A candid and thorough comparison between two heartfelt ceremonies of remembrance and respect for the departed. The article gives a clear understanding of memorial and funeral ceremonies.

    Reply
  3. Interesting post about different ceremonies and events people organize to honour their loved ones. The comparison table on memorials and funerals is very well written and informative. I liked it.

    Reply
  4. The article provides valuable insights on the memorial and funeral ceremonies. Great job on highlighting the main differences, and the explanation of what each entails.

    Reply
  5. We can see the customs of commemorating those who have passed away across different cultures. The article is well-detailed and provides a good understanding of the differences between memorial and funeral ceremonies.

    Reply
  6. Very detailed and informative post explaining the differences between memorial and funeral ceremonies. People do not know how to differentiate between the two. This article clears that confusion.

    Reply

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