Where Did Funeral Parlors Originate?

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Why are these rooms called parlors? Where did this idea of a central place for viewing the deceased, visiting with the bereaved family, and holding a funeral service start?

Funeral homes as places to hold viewings, visitations, and funeral services have a fairly recent history, dating only back about 170 years. From the earliest times since the Renaissance until the mid-1800s, tending to the dead took place in family homes.

Because multiple generations often lived in the same home, it was common for older and sick family members to be cared for – often with home visits by the town’s doctor – and to die at home. Most homes were built with a room in the front of the house that was called a parlor – the modern equivalent is the living room.

The parlor was a formal room. It often had the family’s most valued furniture, a fireplace, and formal, but uncomfortable, furniture. The parlor also often had windows that were dressed by heavy drapes that were opened during the day to allow light in but were closed at night to help insulate houses that were built without a lot of insulation.

The parlor was not used by the family except when guests came to visit. Guests never went into any other part of the house (unless they were family or very close friends). Snacks and drinks were brought into the parlor, often served in the family’s best dishes. So, it made sense that when a family member died, they would be laid out in the parlor of the home, where mourners could view the deceased, visit with the family, and pay their respects and say goodbye.

Once a family member died, they were cleaned and dressed, usually by the women in the family. If their eyes were open when they died, the women closed their eyes and placed pennies on them (a throwback to the idea first proposed by Dante, in The Inferno, that Charon, the ferryman on the river Styx required payment to take the deceased to their designated place in the afterlife).

The body of the deceased was moved from the bedroom where they died into the family parlor. Mourners would traditionally visit for a day or two, then the body was transported to the cemetery (family or church) where it was buried.

The type of rituals that we associate with funerals were much more personal and less formal than what we typically think of now because these were family and community affairs that were part of the rhythm of life and death.

It wasn’t until the massive casualties that the Civil War brought that funeral homes came into being. There were so many deaths at once, many far away from their homes, that the tradition of holding funerals in family parlors became unfeasible.

Because funeral homes could embalm the dead and keep the body preserved for the trip home, funeral homes were the next natural step from the parlor at the family home. But funeral homes respected the idea of the family parlor and named the rooms where funerals were held as parlors.

What is a Funeral Home

Funeral homes are places where you can go to have a funeral service for someone who has died. They typically include caskets and urns, but they may also offer other services like cremations, pre-arrangement, burial plots, and more. 

Funeral homes can vary in size from small family-owned businesses to large corporations that serve many communities. They have staff to assist families in making decisions about what they want to be done at their loved one’s funeral. 

Morticians and embalmers work in these facilities, preparing bodies for burial and often giving them a more natural look by using cosmetics. Some people prefer them because it allows the deceased’s loved ones as well as friends and colleagues to gather in one place instead of having multiple memorial services at different locations. 

It’s important to note that these places do not have any affiliations with religion because their services go beyond religious rites which is why they’re open to everyone regardless of faith or culture.

What is The Difference Between a Mortuary and a Funeral Home?

Funeral Home

A full-service experience is often provided by a funeral home. This type of business usually offers more lavish surroundings and the focus is on comfort for family members who are mourning their loved one’s death. Funeral directors coordinate the memorialization process with family members by guiding them through this difficult time in life. Funeral directors play many roles including making sure that all the necessary permits have been acquired with both state and local governments as well as taking care of any possible legal issues families need assistance on. They also coordinate every aspect from choosing caskets or urns, managing guest lists, creating memorial videos, and everything else related to planning when someone passes away so they can provide excellent service while ensuring their clients get what they want out of their memories. They are trained in grief counseling and can offer support to those who come from all walks of life before anyone else is allowed access to that person’s grieving process.

Funeral homes have a variety of services that are available to families. Families can choose from music, catering, and event coordinators for larger funerals, or they may opt for more private options if the family prefers not to include others in their grieving process. You can find an array of memorialization products at a funeral home such as service booklets, photos, jewelry art, and mementos. They also offer unique caskets to urns that will fit your needs. To help you remember the people who have impacted our lives whether they be family members or friends we often choose to commemorate their memory in different ways including using services like funeral homes where one can buy items related to memories of those passed on while still living with them. They often help to write and publish an obituary in a local newspaper.

One of the most common misconceptions about funeral homes is that they always have on-site crematories. The funeral home staff is usually the ones who take care of the transportation for you, which will start with taking your deceased loved one to a crematory. One of the most common misconceptions about funeral homes is that they always have on-site crematories. The funeral home staff is usually the ones who take care of the transportation for you, which will start with taking your deceased loved one to a crematory. The funeral home staff will have to transport the deceased back and forth from their location, as well as be involved with the cremation process.


A mortuary is a place where the dead bodies are prepared for burial or cremation. They usually offer many services to help deal with the death of someone close. A mortician will prepare the body for viewing, with makeup, casketing, and dressing. Generally, it’s a place that houses both the remains of someone who has died as well as their grieving family and friends. Memorial services may be held onsite or take place elsewhere. The mortuary may offer fewer services, but they are also a cheaper option. You have the choice between cremation and full-scale memorialization services with this organization.

A funeral home, on the other hand, is where people can arrange gatherings after someone has passed away which might include details about their life and death procession requests. They offer whole services from funeral planning to wake planning to serving food and drinks for those who gather there.

what is a funeral home

What Services Does a Funeral Home Offer?

What is a Traditional Funeral Service?

The traditional funeral service is still the most common type of funeral ceremony held in many parts of the country, but more and more people are opting for personalized ceremonies. At a traditional funeral service, friends and family may sing or play songs to commemorate their loved one’s life, while someone delivers an emotional eulogy that will leave attendees feeling deeply touched by memories shared about this person who has passed on. A pastor usually takes part in these types of services as well – some religious traditions require it!

What is a Graveside Service?

A graveside service is the most important part of a traditional funeral, where friends and family say goodbye to their loved one before they are buried. It’s often emotional with people crying out loud as the casket is lowered into the ground below.

What is a Direct Burial?

Direct burials are a more affordable option for families that do not plan on having any sort of formal ceremony. Some people may choose this type of burial with plans to have a memorial service in the future, but others will simply want their loved one interred without fuss or fanfare and no visitation or funeral beforehand. Direct burial is often chosen by families who would like to keep costs down so they can focus on other aspects such as making up for lost income due to death.

What is a Direct Cremation?

Direct cremation is an option for those who want to keep their arrangements straightforward. Cremations are typically cheaper than funerals, which can help in these tough economic times. This may be the best choice if you don’t have a lot of time before your passing or would just prefer that attendees not make the trip out from far away due to it being so close by; they also provide immediate closure following death as there’s no formal visitation or funeral service after the cremation takes place at all!

What is a Memorial Service?

The memorial service is a solemn occasion that showcases the life of someone who has passed away. The body or cremated remains are not present, but this does nothing to lessen the significance and importance of remembering what was important about their lives during these services.

A memorial service consists mainly in honoring those we’ve lost by reflecting on all they gave us while living here with us – from anecdotes detailing funny moments shared with them through memories recalling when you first met each other and how much your relationship grew over time, there’s no shortage for things worth celebrating at a funeral!

What is a Celebration of Life?

A celebration of life is a way for people to celebrate your loved one after they have passed. There are many different ways it can be done, but the remains may not always need to be present and this depends on what you want as well. It can take the place of traditional funeral services and happen days, weeks, or even years after the death has taken place.

What is the Role of a Funeral Home?

A funeral home will typically offer a variety of services. An example would be cremation, which can be done within 24 hours after the person dies. Other common things offered are:

  • Funeral homes are on call 24/7 to serve families when a death occurs. They offer comfort and peace of mind during an emotional time in someone’s life, 365 days per year!
  • Remove the deceased from their place of death and transport them to a funeral home. If cremation is required, they will also take care of transporting the body back and forth between locations if necessary.
  • Funeral homes provide necessary services for the deceased, as requested by their families. These may include washing and preparing bodies to be seen in public viewing sessions; embalming or preserving them with fluids so that they can withstand weeks without decomposing; cosmetology such as restorative art and hairdressing if desired before burial or cremation.
  • Funerals must always involve consulting closely with surviving friends or relatives before they can proceed into actionable items such as finishing any necessary paperwork, like certificates of death, and planning which types of ceremonies will most likely coincide well with their loved one’s preferences.
  • Are the go-to for crafting and composing obituaries to share with survivors, as well as traditional media outlets. They help compose an informative story that includes information about the service (date, time location), biographical data of your loved one’s life and their family members in case they need a contact number or address later on; send it out to all local newspapers when requested by his/her surviving relatives
  • The Funeral home offers assistance to the family by contacting the family’s choice of the clergy, other officiants, musicians, and singers if requested. In addition, funeral homes work with military groups as well as fraternal organizations should a request need to be made from those who take part in services during or after one has passed away.
  • Are usually in charge of contacting the cemetery, crematory, and other places of disposition to make arrangements. They inquire about fees, regulations, and any requirements for funeral services before they happen.
  • Can help families with all of their funerary needs. Things such as veterans affairs, Social Security benefits, and insurance claims are only some things that come to mind at this time.
  • Provide memorial products to commemorate the life of a loved one, which may include a guest register book, acknowledgment cards, and thank you cards for expressing gratitude on behalf of yourself or someone else in memory of their loved one who has passed away.
  • Are responsible for keeping the process as respectful and unobtrusive to those who remember them in their time of need. They coordinate visitation, funerals, processions (if necessary), Take care of the deceased with dignity and respect, and professionally dispose of remains.
  • Are responsible for delivering flowers, guest register books, flower cards, and memorial contributions made to the family back to them after the service. They also return photographs that were displayed at a service back to members of the deceased’s family!
  • Funeral homes are in charge of planning and managing the funeral service, as well as assisting families with arranging other memorials after a loved one’s death. They also assist with other needs after the service, such as adding dates to existing monuments or making new ones.

If you’d like information about our funeral home in Dayton, OH, our compassionate and experienced staff here at Glickler Funeral Home & Cremation Service can help. You can come by our funeral home at 1849 Salem Ave., Dayton, OH 45406, or you can contact us today at (937) 278-4287.

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