There are a number of rituals attached to funerals. However, most people don’t take time to think about where these traditions originated or why they are still practiced in modern times. Review these facts and learn a bit more about common funeral processes and their origins. 

Flowers Were More Than Gifts

After someone you love passes away, the family members of the departed are likely to receive a ton of flowers from relatives, friends, and acquaintances. While this is currently seen as a kind and respected gesture, the act actually began for far more practical reasons. Before mortuary practices reached the advanced level they’re at today, it was common for the bodies of the deceased to start rotting and bloating long before burial.

Since a decomposing corpse can produce noxious odors, large bouquets of flowers would be placed around the body. This was done as a way of masking whatever unpleasant scents were present. The presence of the blossoms also gave the mourning process less of a dour aesthetic. 

Wearing Black When Mourning

Wearing black is quite commonplace when it comes to attending a funeral in places like the United States, Canada, and England. However, most people don’t know why this is the most acceptable color to don for such scenarios. Some historians believe the practice can be traced back to the days of the Roman Empire. After a loved one’s death, mourners would put on togas of dark colors in order to show proper respect to the deceased. During the Victorian era in England, members of the upper class revitalized this practice and cemented it as a modern funeral custom. 

Wakes and Surprises

Hosting a wake is a common practice for people who belong to various sects of Christianity. In modern times, this event is considered an opportunity for loved ones to see the deceased one final time and celebrate his or her life. Interestingly, this is not why the practice began. In the past, it was unfortunately quite common for people to be misattributed as deceased and buried alive. To avoid this, it became normal for families to lay the body of a loved one in a common room of the home for several days in case he or she was alive. 

Obituaries for All

Placing an obituary online or in a local newspaper is one of the easiest ways to inform the public at large of someone’s death. However, this was far from a common practice when it first came about. In fact, obituaries were once only meant for the most powerful and influential people. When someone important died, the obituary was meant to inform the public so that they could attend services and show proper respect. 

Historians believe obituaries first became common practice in the 1600s. The first obituary for someone who was considered a “commoner” did not come about until the 1900s. After this, it became far more mainstream for average people to receive obituaries in the paper. 

Celebrating Life

Nowadays, families will often opt to host a “celebration of life” for a departed loved one in lieu of a funeral. While it might seem like a modern practice, the origins go back farther than many realize. In the 1800s, it became commonplace for families to serve large feasts after burying a relative. Since these gatherings were viewed as more jovial and celebratory than standard funeral practices, they quickly gained in popularity. It soon became just as normal to forego the funeral entirely and focus solely on holding a celebration of life for the deceased. 

Showing Respect

A funeral is an opportunity to gather friends and family together in order to say goodbye to a loved one. Though modern rituals might seem strange, it is important to remember that each tradition originated due to a specific need.

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