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How to behave at funerals

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  • T’a ba ku l’an d’ere, eniyan o suwon l’aye

(Yoruba proverb – ‘The departed are idolized and romanticized, the living are despised’)  

Signing condolence register

Signing condolence register

Dignity and decorum can never go out of style. And at ceremonies such as a funeral or service of songs, the best behaviour is expected.

Good form and kind consideration for the family of the departed are required from guests and participants at a funeral.

Apart from the appropriate attire, your manners and ways must show refinement.

Before the day (services of songs or funeral), pay a condolence visit.

Sign the register, and be as unobtrusive as possible. Just say short prayers and exchange kind words with the bereaved. No long story about the escapades of the deceased or inappropriate episodes both of you shared.

Don’t stay longer than an hour except you are very close to the family. If you are close, pen a condolence letter expressing your commiseration with the spouse and family of the deceased. Just a few paragraphs of condolence, eulogies and prayer.

At the service of songs or funeral, arrive before the programme starts, and partake in proceedings as quietly as you can.

Leave your phone in the car, or programme it to ‘silent’- and never be tempted to have a conversation with your caller.

Be attentive at the funeral, and stay still the end. ‘There is no hurry’, that’s what death actually teaches.

And never forget, death is not a tragedy or an irreparable loss. It is fact of life that everyone, everyone will pass on.

So, don’t wail and cry and be despondent. Display a confident and serious mien.

After the ceremony, you can commiserate again with departed’s family. But never hang around too long, except you are very close to them.

  • Don’t forget, we have left the social event, reception, out of this piece.

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