Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 12.20.2022

How Long Is A Funeral?

How Long Is A Funeral?

Reviewed By: Scott Ginsberg

Cross Checked By: William Prout

How Much Time Does A Funeral Take?

Each funeral differs from the other. Funeral length can vary based on culture, religion, personal preferences, and more. These variables make it tough to ascertain how long a typical funeral service would last. Short funeral ceremonies can be conducted within 15 minutes, whereas some funerals can last longer than 90 minutes. Hence, the average funeral may last somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour. When planning a funeral, discuss timings with your funeral director to gauge how long a funeral will last. 

Differences in the length of a funeral have to do with the religious background of the deceased. For instance, a Catholic funeral tends to last longer than most Christian funerals, as it tends to include a Funeral Mass (special religious service). Without Mass, the funeral may be over within 40 minutes, but with it, the entire service can go on for an hour or more. Similarly, Jewish funerals also vary based on multiple factors. Orthodox Jews tend to opt for simple services that take anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes. 

Other Jewish communities also conduct remembrances and readings which subsequently increases the funeral length to an hour or more. Muslim funerals usually take about an hour as one can expect the service to include readings from the Quran and prayer recitals. Hindu funerals tend to be on the shorter side. The entire service will usually take as long as 30 minutes, although this is variable based on the personal preferences of the deceased and their loved ones. 

How Long Does A Cremation Service Last Compared To A Burial?

When it comes to the length of the main funeral service, there tends to be no significant difference between the duration of a cremation funeral and a burial. However, with a burial, the funeral may also include a separate graveside ceremony which can increase its overall length. Hence, the location of the burial site from the funeral home can increase the length of a burial service. This only occurs when family members and attendees need to travel elsewhere to reach the site of burial. When deciding on the burial site for funeral, you can account for this travel distance.

What Determines The Length Of A Funeral?

Besides cultural differences, there are multiple factors that can affect funeral time. Some of the main ones include:

  • The number of attendees: If the number of attendees is few, a funeral can last shorter. However, the more attendees there are, the longer it can conduct the funeral service as everybody settles in. Eulogies might also last longer as there might be more speakers at larger funerals. 
  • Allocated budget: The budget one has allocated when planning a funeral also determines its length. Naturally, the longer a funeral is likely to go on, the more expensive it is. If you plan on keeping your funeral on the shorter side, this might be easier on your overall expenditure. Ensure you talk through the celebrant of your funeral about all included fees before booking any services, as some locations might charge higher fees than others. 
  • Personal preferences: Whether it be the wishes of one’s loved ones or those of the deceased, the average length of a funeral ultimately depends on how long they would want the service to go on. Some people prefer poetry, eulogies, prayers, and other readings in addition to traditional rites as part of a funeral service. Some funerals also include a viewing which occurs before the service starts and allows the deceased’s loved ones to view their body. This can last for a number of hours, but not all visitors are required to attend this. 

When planning a funeral, it is important to estimate how long it will take, as the estimated funeral length can then be scaled to fit one’s allocated budget. Ensure you account for all the aforementioned variables when planning or attending a funeral to determine how long it will go on.