Dates NOT to Plan a Funeral
Few people can choose the time and date of their death, which means most funerals take place on the spur of the moment. No matter how inconvenient the timing or what month it is, saying goodbye is something that always takes precedence over the other demands of daily life.
However, funerals do have some flexibility in terms of timing. Unless there are religious or cultural customs that demand the deceased be buried as soon as possible, most families have a window of a few weeks in which to plan the funeral. (Or, if the deceased is cremated, you can even delay the funeral for months at a time.) This means that you can work around holidays, work schedules, and other prior commitments that might make a funeral inconvenient.
It is also important to take personal dates and anniversaries into consideration. If you are planning the funeral of a loved one, it is typically best to avoid these days and delay the funeral for a little while.
- Christmas, Easter, and other Religious Observances: Not only are churches likely to be booked and family plans already made, but these holidays often find service providers closing their doors. Although funeral homes are open 24/7, you may not be able to find drivers, caterers, musicians, and others who provide funeral services.
- Memorial Day/Veteran’s Day: Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are very important holidays for cemeteries. Because they have been set aside for the commemoration of those fallen in service of the military, the focus is meant to be on those who have already passed. To plan a funeral for this day is not only difficult (because so many cemeteries hold celebrations), but it might be seen as a callous disregard for those we are supposed to be commemorating.
- Halloween: Although Halloween is more of a playful holiday, it can have painful associations for those who have recently experienced a loss. (November 1 can also be a bad day for funerals, as El Dia de Los Muertos and/or All Saint’s Day celebrations are reserved for this day.) If death occurs around this time, it is more tactful to wait a few days to hold the funeral.
- Friday the 13th: Like Halloween, this day is meant to be superstitious and fun, but it can still carry negative connotations for those who have lost a loved one. Avoid accidentally insulting anyone by not holding the funeral on Friday the 13th.
- Birthdays/Anniversaries: Saying goodbye to a loved one is difficult enough—to do so on their (or your) birthday or on an important anniversary can only add to your pain. These days will also be hard to bear in the years ahead, so you may want to avoid the added association of the funeral.
You might also want to look locally to avoid any events or festivals that might make it difficult to reserve blocks of hotel rooms or navigate traffic. The goal of most funerals is to reduce the amount of stress for everyone involved—by choosing a date when there are no other events or celebrations taking place, you can help ensure that everyone will be able to attend and share their grief.
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By Amy Johnson