Here in America and in most of Canada, we have funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries.
But our traditions are vastly different from those in other countries and cultures.
This is a special edition of our series that highlights how different cultures care for their dead. We’ll look at Hispanic funeral traditions discussed during the 2019 ICCFA Convention session titled The Pains and Gains of Entering the Hispanic Market presented by Salvador Perches.
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Hispanic Funeral Customs
Hispanic funeral customs vary depending on someone’s specific demographics and personal preferences, but Perches discussed some typical customs during his session. They can be large events with long viewings and visitations, so many families bring dishes to pass to feed all the funeral guests. They also find creative ways to involve children in the funeral activities. The funeral itself is more like a celebration of life with music or a mariachi band.
Día de los Muertos
On November 2nd, families celebrate Día de los Muertos, also known as The Day of the Dead. It’s a time for families to honor and remember their ancestors through meaningful celebrations and rituals. Many families gather to clean and decorate their loved one’s gravesites with candles, flowers, food, and other mementos. People also pray, share stories, play music, and other traditions to pay tribute to their loved ones.
How Your Funeral Home Can Adapt
If there is a large or growing Hispanic population in your funeral home’s community, you should know how to meet and exceed their funeral expectations.
To help you start, below are a few ideas for catering to your community’s Hispanic population:
It’s a good idea for your funeral home’s staff to have a basic understanding of the Spanish language. You can take a course at a local college or find an online class. Or if you find that you’re serving a large number of Hispanic families who speak Spanish, you may want to consider having someone on your staff that’s fluent in the language. This can help avoid any miscommunication during funeral planning.
Suggest Funeral Personalization Ideas.
Families want their loved one’s funeral to be a unique experience that highlights their loved one’s life. Help them brainstorm some creative ways to honor their loved one by asking them questions and listening to their stories. You also can offer a selection of personalized memorial products, urns, and caskets for even more funeral personalization.
Host a Día de los Muertos event.
Get involved in your community by hosting an event, such as for Día de los Muertos. For example, you can serve dinner at your community’s local cemetery. Or host an event prior to the holiday for making mementos to decorate a loved one’s gravesite with.
Consider Offering a Catering Option.
Since many families bring their own dishes to a Hispanic funeral, you may want to consider offering a catering option. This would help make things easier for families while funeral planning and grieving. You can partner with a local restaurant and even get a little extra revenue to invest in other projects like renovating your lobby or updating your website.