Funerals throughout the world are governed by many customs, rites and rituals. Funeral provides a chance to the relatives of the deceased to pray for him and come to terms with their loss and sorrow.
Christian funerals are governed by the Church rules. However, there are over 200 different factions of Christianity that have their own different customs and rituals relating to the funeral ceremony.
An important ceremony of a Christian funeral, called wake, is the first and foremost custom that is carried out before the real funeral and involves watching over the deceased and recital of prayers for the eternal peace of his soul. According to present day practices, this is the stage where friends and family see the dead person for the final time and pay their heartfelt homage. The body is either laid at the residence or at Church and the time of paying visit is decided according to prescribed norms. In earlier days, the second stage after wake used to be that of absolution, where a cross was put on the deceased's body and offertory, which held the gifts offered by visitors, and the deceased was ritually absolved of the sins of this birth.
Next comes the main ceremony, which starts with the bringing of the deceased's body to the Church in a hearse and is succeeded by chanting of hymns and prayers from the Holy Bible. Then, the priest requests a friend or family member to give a eulogy or tribute to the departed's life. In certain cases funeral traditions include the ringing of bells to mark the end of the ceremony. Then the casket with the deceased's body is transported to the burial site for the final set of rituals, called the burial service which precedes the burying.
Lastly, the family members organize a lunch for everyone who has attended the funeral. The main aim of such rituals is to give support to the mourning family and assist them to tide over their grief and resign themselves to the fate.