How Long After Someone Dies Is Their Funeral Held?

Well, how long is a piece of string? Kidding. But also, not really.
How Long After Someone Dies Is Their Funeral Held?

Unfortunately, as is often the case with many death-related traditions, there’s no set answer for this question. The length of time between a person’s death and their funeral depends on a range of factors, including:

  • The person’s religious faith, and the requirements associated with that.
  • How busy the funeral home’s schedule is. They might not be able to host the funeral with only 24 hours notice.
  • If they have family members who need to travel to attend the funeral (for example, they might have siblings, parents or children who are overseas at the time of death and want to be present for the funeral).
  • The medical situation of important friends and family members (for example, if a family member is about to undergo a major surgery, you might choose to delay the funeral until after the procedure).
  • The cause of death.
  • Legal concerns (especially if the death needs to be examined by a coroner or requires an autopsy).
  • Budgeting issues (ie. Family members are unable to afford to pay for the funeral immediately, and the deceased doesn’t have enough money in their bank account to pay for it).
  • If the person has died whilst interstate or overseas and needs to be transported home.

What is the most common length of time between death and the funeral?

We can give you an answer to this question, but once again, it’s important to take note of the dot points listed above.

If the person’s body is being properly preserved between their time of death and the funeral, their funeral can be planned for between 1-4 weeks post-death. However, it’s important to note that the longer you wait, the less likely it will be to be able to organise an open casket viewing.

The most typical time to hold a funeral is within a week after the person has died. Saying goodbye to a loved one can be difficult, confronting and sad, and so many families opt to organise the funeral for as soon as possible so they can move on to the next stage of their grief.

Funerals and Religion

Interested in the rules around funeral timing in relation to different religions and cultures? Here’s what we know:

Catholic Funerals

A wake is usually held within a few days after passing, and then the funeral will take place three days post-death. Interested in Catholic funeral traditionsRead this.

Christian Funerals

The same rules apply as for Catholic funerals, however, the wake is replaced by a viewing of the body that occurs before the funeral. Some Christians also ensure the funeral is held within three days after passing, while others are a little more lenient and schedule the funeral for one week afterwards.

Muslim Funerals

Funerals must be organised and held within 24-hours post-passing, or before the next sunset. Muslim bodies cannot be cremated. Interested in Muslim funeral traditionsRead this.

Jewish Funerals

Traditionally, Jewish funerals are held as soon as possible, usually within the first 24 hours. Many Jewish bodies are buried (Orthodox and Conservative Judaism) while others can be cremated if they choose (Reform Judaism). Interested in Jewish funeral traditionsRead this.

Hindu Funerals

Interestingly, cremation is the traditional method of disposition, and the funeral will usually take place within 24-48 hours at the deceased’s home or the home of a family member. The funeral is then followed by a cremation ceremony called ‘mukhagni’ which takes place at the site of the cremation.

Some families also hold an additional ceremony called ‘shradda’ which occurs between 10-13 days after the date of death. Alternatively, it can be held on the first anniversary of the person’s death. Interested in Hindu funeral traditionsRead this.

Wrap up

Ultimately, there’s no one-date-suits-all approach to picking a date (or duration between death and funeral) for your loved one’s funeral. It’s important to consider all aspects of their death before setting your heart on a date as there are many factors that could impact the time of their burial or funeral service.

If you’ve lost a loved one and need help arranging their funeral service, the team at Willed can help. Please call us on 1300 945 533 to speak with a dedicated funeral arranger.

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