Funeral procession

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This article is about the ceremony. For the painting, see Funeral Procession (painting).
The funeral procession of Viktor Dyk, 1931, Prague, Czech Republic
The funeral procession of Alexander III, Emperor of Russia, 1894

A funeral procession is a procession, usually in motor vehicles or by foot, from a funeral home or church or other place of worship to the cemetery or church. The deceased is usually transported in a hearse, while family and friends follow in their vehicles. In earlier times horse-drawn vehicles were used or in poorer societies a group of men would carry the deceased on a bier accompanied by a procession of people.

United States[edit]

The rules applied in most of the United States are:

  • All vehicles traveling in a funeral procession must be accompanied by a licensed escort. Usually one escort is assigned for approximately every 10 to 12 vehicles.
  • Funeral processions have the right of way[citation needed]. People are required to yield, and not interfere or cause an obstruction. Emergency vehicles and trains are excluded from this.
  • Stickers (colored markers) must[citation needed] be attached to front and rear windows of each vehicle. Flags may also be used.
  • Everyone that is part of the procession is required to have their lights turned on, and some states require the escort to use hazard lights.


A Hindu funeral procession c. 1820

A funeral procession in Hinduism normally takes place from the house of the deceased to the cremation ground and is normally an all-male affair.[1] The eldest son leads the procession followed by others.[2] Contrary to western traditions, the procession leaves as soon as possible after death and mourners chant the name of god en route to the crematorium.[3][4] The body itself is bathed and wrapped in a white sheet, carried to the cremation ground on a bamboo stretcher.[5] The son leading the procession carries a fire pot when he leaves the house, which is used to light the funeral pyre.[2][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smith, Bonnie G. (2008). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. p. 14. ISBN 0195148908. 
  2. ^ a b Michaels, Axel (2004). Hinduism: Past and Present. Princeton University Press. p. 133. ISBN 0691089531. 
  3. ^ Susai Anthony, Kenneth Schouler (2009). The Everything Hinduism Book: Learn the Traditions and Rituals of the "Religion of Peace". Everything Books. p. 251. ISBN 1598698621. 
  4. ^ Bowen, Paul (1998). Themes and Issues in Hinduism. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 270. ISBN 0304338516. 
  5. ^ a b "Gandhi's son will light traditional funeral pyre". Ocala Star-Banner. 24 May 1991. Retrieved 3 May 2012.