A conventional funeral is customarily a public event – anyone can come.

It is ceremonial inasmuch as the person who has died arrives at the funeral venue in a hearse followed by a procession of cars. It is a formal inasmuch as it has a predetermined format and concludes with a final farewell to the person who has died.

A funeral like this, with the person who has died present, enables all those people who knew them – family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, members of recreational clubs, care home staff – to come together to pay their respects and say a symbolic goodbye. People feel a strong need to do this. It enables them to come to terms with the absence of the person who has died and to understand that they must go on without them.