Funeral is an inevitable, sad fact of life. A part of this event is a job that needs to be done and it must be well organized and executed, that is the reason why when there is a death in the family, the best thing to do is to select a business minded person from among family members or friends to manage this practical side of this sad event.
In North America when a person dies in his/her home the customs are as follows: the priest is the first one to be informed of the death, and he is the one who proceed to give instructions as to the spiritual component of the funeral. The next thing is to call the selected funeral home. It is good to know that the same package of services is priced differently in different funeral homes. Therefore a good thing to do, if the death is inevitable, is to shop around for best prices. Next, people from the funeral home come and take away the body of the deceased from the hospital and further proceed with their job after making arrangements with the family. The clothes and footwear should be prepared for the deceased and brought over to the funeral home.
If a person dies at home, the members of the household must first call a competent medical person – coroner, to establish the circumstances under which death occurred and issue the documents necessary for the preparation of the funeral. If a person died at home a priest should be called in to read the prayer for the dead before the body is taken away. Following the removal of the body from the home the priest blesses the water and the home.
The following should be prepared for the FUNERAL SERVICE:
ritual wheat, ritual bread and red wine.
If a funeral dinner is hosted following the burial ceremony, care should be taken of the type of food served – if it is a fasting day then the food should be meat, dairy and egg free.
In the house whose family member died a candle or a vigil light should burn for forty days.
MEMORIAL SERVICES are held on the following days: on the ninth day, the fortieth day, six months and a year following the passing away of the beloved family member. After that, a memorial service is held each year for as long as it is possible.
The same things are necessary for all memorial services: ritual wheat, ritual bread and red wine.
No ritual including the memorial service can be performed without a candle.
The FORTIETH DAY memorial service is held precisely on the fortieth day following the passing away of the family member and there should be neither questions nor doubts in this respect. If the person had passed away in the afternoon following the vespers which are usually held at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, the next day is considered as the first day; forty days are counted from the first day and on the fortieth day the memorial service is held. Other memorial services may be held a day or two earlier but not later.
The type of food served for the memorial service depends on the day of the week – if it is a fasting day then meat, dairy and egg-free food is served, if it is not a fasting day, then any food may be served. However, one should look out for the essence, not ephemeral things.