Civilizations around the world have practiced funeral traditions for hundreds of years. From ancient Egyptian mummies to the Aztecs’ celebration of the Day of the Dead, funeral rites mirror the culture and often the religious beliefs of the group practicing them. At Spring Grove, our dedicated staff members help families in Hamilton County make funeral arrangements for their loved ones. With every service we plan, we honor a family’s budget, preferences, and their cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Looking at funeral traditions through the years can provide inspiration for planning a funeral today.

Wearing Black at a Funeral

The tradition of wearing black at a funeral goes as far back as the Roman Empire, but we owe the modern practice of black funeral attire to Queen Victoria. After her beloved husband, Prince Albert, died of typhoid fever in 1861, Queen Victoria wore black continuously and did so for the rest of her life—about 40 more years. Since then, wearing black at a funeral has become a common practice, especially in the Western world.

The Funeral Procession

The funeral procession originated in ancient Egypt when a high priest followed by mourners led the coffin pulled on a sled to the burial site. Men often remained unshaven for the service, and women tore their clothing and smeared dirt on their faces as a symbol of their grief. Many modern funeral processions, especially those adhering to the Christian tradition, involve transporting the body from the home to the church or cemetery.

Funeral Flowers

Flowers have long been a symbol of the passage of time and the changing of seasons. They can also signify hope, new beginnings, and life itself. Many cultures use flowers in funeral ceremonies to ornament a casket, a grave, or the memorial space or venue. Flowers were originally placed near the deceased’s body to emit pleasing odors prior to the common practice of embalming. Floral arrangements are standard practice for modern funeral décor, and the types of flowers selected vary from roses to lilies to marigolds and more.

Alternative Burial Choices

Traditional burial often involves a casket and a burial vault, but some families desire a more environmentally friendly burial choice. When you choose natural burial, you can select a biodegradable casket or burial shroud for your loved one. If your loved one was passionate about the environment or recycling, natural burial is a meaningful way to honor their preferences.

If you live in the Cincinnati area and wish to learn more about planning a funeral for a loved one or preplanning your own service, please contact our staff.