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Burial, Cremation and Funerals
Who should be called when a person dies outside of a medical setting?

If the death was not anticipated, call 911. The medical examiner will be involved in all unexpected deaths.

Funeral Directors Responsibilities

What do funeral directors do?

Obtain the signature of the attending physician, coroner or medical examiner on the required certificate; file the certificate with the registrar of vital statistics where the death occurred

Make arrangements for and transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home
(local or out of town)

Procure the burial permit and file with the graveyard/cemetery

Obtain certified copies of the death certificate

Obtain family history information for the obituary and other announcements

Compose and submit newspaper and other media notices

Who has the duty to arrange the funeral?

It is the duty of the state where the person lived to arrange funeral, burial, or cremation as per religion or culture.
This has to be empowered by others.
Funeral directors are state workers.
All funeral premises are state premises and natural resources.

History of burial practices

State funerals
Death and state funeral of King Hussein
Funeral of Pope John Paul II
State funeral of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Death and funeral of Kim Jong-il

Traditional Funerals

Q: What does a traditional funeral include?

A: A traditional funeral includes a visitation and a funeral or memorial service the following day at the funeral home, mosque, church, or both, followed by a procession to the graveyard/cemetery for the committal service.

Q: What’s the difference between a visitation, a funeral service, and a memorial service?

A: A visitation, or viewing, is the opportunity for family and close friends to witness the body of their deceased loved one, allowing personal comforting and providing a sense of closure. The only difference between a funeral service and a memorial service is that the body is present at a funeral service while it is not present at a memorial service. These services bring together friends and family in mutual support at a time when it is most needed. This ritual is as meaningful as a baptism or wedding, helping loves ones attain a sense of closure and acceptance and move ahead with their lives following the loss.

A Guide for the Muslim Funeral

Contact Your Muslim Community Center


Subhaanaka allaahumma wa bihamdika wa tabaaraka ismuka wa ta'aala jadduka wa jalla thannaa-uka wa laal ilaaha ghayruka

Translation: Glory be to you Oh Allah, and praise be to You, and blessed is your name, and exalted is Your Majesty, and there is none to be served besides.

A graveyard is any place set aside for long-term burial of the dead, with or without monuments such as headstones.

Graveyard and gravestones

Q: Can you have a funeral with a cremation?

A: Yes. A funeral without a body, or with cremated remains, is a memorial service. We provide the same variety of service options and personal touches for cremations that we offer with traditional burials. Our expert staff can help you arrange a meaningful service to be held before or after the cremation—whether it’s an intimate gathering, a large memorial service or a unique life celebration ceremony.

Q: Can you provide a minister, priest, rabbi or other clergy for the funeral service?

A: Contact Your Muslim Community Center

Q: What if we are not religious and don’t want a religious ceremony, but still want some kind of ceremony?

A: A memorial service is a ceremony held in honor of the dead.

Q: Can you personalize a mosque, church or chapel service? A cremation service?

A: Contact Your Muslim Community Center

Q: What is a Keepsake Video Tribute?

A: When moments are difficult to express with words, we offer you a way to display them on video. A Video or DVD Tribute says more than words can express. The Tribute is a video slideshow of photos you provide of your loved one, with music you select. All tributes are professionally created and formatted for high definition and widescreen formats.

What Are The Differences Between Burial And Cremation?

What is Cremation?

It’s the process of reducing the body to ashes and bone fragments through the use of intense heat. The process usually takes two to four hours. Depending on the size of the body, the cremated remains will weigh three to nine pounds. The bone fragments are pulverized to about aquarium gravel texture. Depending on the fuel and temperature used, they are some-where between a light grey and white color.

Is a casket required for cremation?

No, a casket is never required for cremation. However, most crematories do require that the body be enclosed in a rigid, combustible con-tainer. Under federal regulations, all mortuar-ies must make available an inexpensive cre-mation container often referred to as an alter-native container. Customers may make or fur-nish their own suitable container.

Is a funeral service necessary?

Visitation and a funeral service with a body present may be held before cremation or you may choose to have a memorial service with-out the body present. Cremation makes it pos-sible to take more time to plan a service at a convenient time.

What can be done with cremated remains?

They can be placed in a niche in a columbarium, buried, scattered, or kept by the family. Cremated remains are sterile and pose no health hazard. Their disposition is, for the most part, not controlled, provided the landowner grants permission.

A columbarium is an assembly of niches de-signed to hold containers of cremated remains. It is most often located in a mausoleum with a cemetery and at some churches.

Earth burial can be done in a cemetery or on private property. Most cemeteries will permit two or three containers in one adult-size plot. Some (unnecessarily) require that you pur-chase an urn vault. For home burial, keep in mind that unless you have a family cemetery on your property, eventually the land is likely to be sold and the land used for other purposes.

Scattering cremains over an area that had significance to the deceased is legal in most jurisdictions. Although there are commercial firms which will handle the cremated remains for a fee, most families prefer to do this themselves. Remains that are being scattered should be processed by the crematory to reduce all frag-ments to fine particles.

Scattering at sea is available to all veterans and dependents and is provided by the Navy or Coast Guard. Because sea burials are done at the convenience of the military, the family may not witness sea burial.

How do religious groups view cremation?

Since Vati-can II Council in 1964, the Code of Canon Law allows Roman Catholics a choice between burial and cremation. The Greek and Jewish Orthodox faiths oppose cremation, as do orthodox Jews and Muslims.

What do funeral directors do?

Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the deceased.

Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.

What types of funeral services exist?

Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and if so, whether the casket will be open or closed, and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.

Why have a public viewing?

Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.

Embalming Questions

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, retards the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of someone disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.

Is embalming required by law?

No. Most states, however, require embalming when death is caused by a reportable contagious disease or when a deceased is to be transported from one state to another by common carrier, or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.

Cremation Questions

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

As more people are choosing cremation, funeral service professionals are striving to give consumers a true sense of what their many options are for a funeral service. Often funeral directors find that people have a preconception that they have fewer choices for a ceremony when selecting cremation for themselves or a loved one. Therefore, they request direct cremation and deny the surviving friends and family an opportunity to honor them with a memorial service. In actuality, cremation is only part of the commemorative experience. In fact, cremation can actually increase your options when planning a funeral. Cremation gives people the flexibility to search for types of tributes that reflect the life being honored. But this doesn't mean that aspects of traditional funeral services have to be discarded. Even with cremation, a meaningful memorial that is personalized to reflect the life of the deceased could include:

A visitation prior to the service
An open or closed casket
Special music
A ceremony at the funeral chapel, your place of worship or other special location
Participation by friends and family
Commonly, cremated remains are placed in an urn and committed to an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium; interred in a family burial plot; or included in a special urn garden.

Cremation also gives families the option to scatter the remains. This can be done in a designated cemetery garden or at a place that was special to the person. Today, cremated remains can even become part of an ocean reef or made into diamonds.

Where can I get more information on cremation?

We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral or memorial service with a cremation. For more technical information about the cremation process, we encourage you to view information on-line at the National Funeral Directors Association.

What is the purpose of a funeral?

Funerals provide surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to recognize the death of a loved one, and to share thoughts and feelings about that person. Funerals are the first step in the healing process. The ritual of attending a funeral service provides many benefits including:

Providing a social support system for the bereaved Helping the bereaved understand death is final and that death is part of life Integrating the bereaved back into the community Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one Providing a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain Reaffirming one's relationship with the person who died Providing a time to say good-bye It is possible to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.

Can we still have a funeral service if cremation is chosen?

Absolutely. No matter what type of service you choose – burial or cremation – a funeral or memorial service is a celebration of the life that has been lived. It offers family and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one as well as an opportunity to grieve in a supportive environment.

What is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the body to bone fragments through the application of intense heat. This usually takes from two to three hours and occurs in a special type of furnace known as a cremation chamber or retort. The remaining fragments are then processed into a finer substance and placed in a temporary container. Before the remains are returned to the family, they are usually transferred to an urn for permanent containment. Cremation is often considered to be an inexpensive, less complicated substitute for the "traditional" funeral.

Cremation and burial are both defined as "modes of disposition," or methods of caring for the body, and as such, are just one part of a funeral. Also, the term "traditional," when applied to funerals, simply refers to an accepted trend of choices from the past.

The Funeral Service and Cremation

As times change, trends change too. Today, many opportunities exist for meaningful services for the benefit of family and friends- both before and after cremation takes place. Cremation can occur after a funeral where the casket is present at one's place of worship or a funeral chapel. The only real difference between a funeral followed by burial and one followed by cremation is that the body is taken to the crematory after the service in lieu of a procession to the cemetery. As is customary, the funeral may be preceded by a period of visitation or a reception at the funeral home. During this time and before the service, the casket may be open or closed, according to the preferences of the survivors. Instead of a public visitation, some families opt to receive friends at their residence or other location, which is a matter of personal choice. Following the funeral, the body is cremated in the casket or placed in a special cremation container if a rental casket was selected. After cremation, a public or private service may be arranged for the final placement of the cremated remains.

The Memorial Service and Cremation

A memorial service, like a funeral, is a service of remembrance, but without the body present. It may be held at a place of worship, the funeral chapel or any other appropriate location. Regardless of the site, your funeral director will assist in planning and organizing the service, and will provide the necessary staff to direct the service. The urn may be present for the memorial service, as the casket would be for a funeral. It is usually placed on a stand and attractively arranged with flowers. Sometimes a photograph of the person or a piece of meaningful memorabilia is displayed at the service or during the reception period.

Depending on where the death occurred, state laws may require a specific "waiting period" before cremation can occur. When scheduling the memorial service, therefore, care should be taken to accommodate these requirements, to ensure that the cremated remains can be present at the service, if that is the preference of the family. Your funeral director can advise you on the regulations in effect in your area. The family may hold a visitation or reception at the mortuary with or without the presence of the body. Frequently, the body will be in the casket during this time for viewing, and then cremated before the memorial service. If cremation is to take place immediately following death, it is often possible to arrange a brief private time for the family to see the body prior to the memorial service. For many people, this has important psychological value, allowing them a time to "say good-bye."

Direct Cremation

An immediate or direct cremation is limited to the prompt cremation of the body following death, with no formal funeral or memorial services. Some funeral firms will require a family member or authorized party to at least verify the identity of the deceased before cremation. In some jurisdictions, this is legally required as well. The funeral directors at Truckee-Tahoe Mortuary will assist in arranging this kind of service, providing personal attention and professional treatment.
Grief Management
Funeral Etiquette
Memorial service

What is a Memorial Service?

What’s the difference between a funeral and a memorial service?

What is a Memorial Service?

A memorial service is a ceremony held in honor of the dead. The term refers to a funeral service when the body is not present, a religious service held in memory of the dead at specific intervals after the funeral, or it may refer to a public ceremony memorializing a public figure or an event in which more than one person died.

How to Select a Theme

Did he or she have a specific hobby?

Where should the funeral be held? At your place of worship? At the funeral home?

Who should officiate the service?

Will your service adhere to the traditions of your faith or culture?

Do you want a eulogy, and who should deliver it?

Would you like an open or closed casket?

What music should be played?

What readings would you like to have read?

Is there a special poem you’d like shared with the guests?

Are there any special photographs or other memorabilia you would like displayed?

Should the décor reflect a particular hobby or interest of yours, such as fishing, gardening or music?

Is there a particular emblem or engraving you want on your headstone or marker?

Should there be refreshments served or a more elaborate party held after the service?