Funeral Terminology

By: Ian Elliott
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Funeral Services can be a complicated time to navigate, not only emotionally but physically as well. There are lots of new terminologies that may not make a whole lot of sense to you, so our funeral directors here at Arbutus Funeral Home have comprised a list of important terminology that may help make this process a little easier for you: 


Burial Permit: A document issued by local authorities after the death is registered by government officials allowing for the deceased to be buried or cremated 

Calling Hours: Known as Visitation, Viewing, Wake; the time for friends and family to gather before or after the service, regardless if it is an open or closed casket 

Cremation plot: Similar to a burial plot, it is an in-ground space that holds the urn with the cremated remains  

Cremation: It is the process of reducing the human remains to ashes through a specialized furnace that exudes a high heat 

Embalming: The process of preserving and cleaning of the deceased by a chemical process 

Eulogy: During the funeral service, the eulogy is an integral part of the ceremony. It is a moment for a loved one to present a speech or memory to those in attendance at the service 

Funeral Coach: It is commonly referred to as the hearse, it is the vehicle that transports the casket throughout the funeral process 

Funeral Directing/Director:  The act of conducting funerals and counseling the families of the deceased. Funeral directors may include the management and supervision of all operations in a funeral establishment. This person oversees all arrangements relating to the funeral service, burial process and paperwork of a deceased person; also often provides counseling and care giving for grieving families. 

Green Burial: Green burial or natural burial ensures the burial site remains as natural as possible in all respects.  Interment of the body includes environmentally sound practices such as a locally sourced bio-degradable casket.  It also includes forgoing the use of embalming fluid, concrete or plastic vaults, and metal, steel, or non-sustainably harvested wood caskets.  

Home Funeral: Home funerals may occur within the family home or elsewhere, such as nursing homes or hospitals.  

Opening and Closing: Performed by Cemetery staff, opening and closing refers to the digging of the earth or opening of the mausoleum crypt and other preparations for interment of human remains as well as the filling in of the grave or closing 

Pallbearers: The people chosen to carry the casket of the deceased 

Full Service Funeral: This type of funeral, often referred to by funeral providers as a "traditional" funeral, usually includes a viewing or visitation and formal funeral service, use of a hearse to transport the body to the funeral site and cemetery, and burial, entombment or cremation of the remains. 

Visitation: The event prior to a funeral service that allows friends and family to pay their respects to the deceased and send their condolences to the family 

Wake:  This is a celebration of life party that traditionally happens after the funeral  



If you have any further questions on this topic, contact us at Arbutus Funeral Home. 

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