Hispanic Funeral Traditions

Hispanic culture is rich and vibrant, exuberant and colourful. With traditions dating back through centuries of cultural influence from 22 countries and a large Roman-Catholic influence, the Hispanic family bond is strong and brings special meaning when saying goodbye to a loved one.

Characteristics of a Hispanic funeral

Hispanic funeral traditions are similar to Protestant traditions. At funeral homes specializing in Mexican funeral traditions, for instance, many families bring in clothes and dress their loved ones themselves. Some prepare the person’s hair and stitch or pin images of the Virgin Mary, photographs, rosaries, books, jewellery and poems into fabric-lined caskets.

Hispanic wake

A wake takes place before the funeral. It is a time to remember the loved one and spend time with family. Often, the wake continues through the night and into the morning. Food and drinks are usually served at the wake, and prayers are common. Candles and flowers play an important role at the wake as well as the funeral service and are often used to decorate the burial grounds of the loved one.

Hispanic funeral ceremony

The funeral, which generally occurs the day after the wake, is a time when families prepare to say goodbye to their loved one. The service is usually presided over by a priest or a clergyman if the person was not Catholic. Personal items and gifts may be laid in the casket to help the person who has passed to have a successful journey to the afterlife.

Hispanic burial

After the ceremony, the burial takes place. Because many Mexicans and Central Americans believe there are days when the dead return to walk among us, many Hispanics wish to be returned to their homeland to be buried with other members of the family in a Catholic cemetery. Roman Catholics often do not cremate their loved ones.

Afterward, family members may get together to share a meal, pray and discuss memories of the loved one. 

Planning a Hispanic funeral

Celebrations of life are becoming more common for Hispanics, and Dignity Memorial® professionals can help you plan the right celebration for your loved one. A custom event might be a family feast or visitation that goes into the night at the funeral home or a culturally themed event with a mariachi band. Think about how the person’s uniqueness can be conveyed through a service. What pictures and stories can be shared during the service? Should the service be bilingual or in just one language?

Hispanic funeral traditions speak to the love shared in their communities and their dedication to family. If you are seeking to plan a Hispanic funeral that will honour your family traditions and the wishes of your loved one, Dignity Memorial professionals can help. We specialize in honouring family customs while adding personal details where appropriate.

Whether you need help selecting or sending appropriate flowers, arranging an extended visitation or creating a beautiful event, our providers can help. Find a Dignity Memorial location near you to get started today.