Icelandic funeral

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White coffins are most commonly used in Iceland

In Iceland the funeral can be held 5 to 14 days after death. Before the funeral a small funeral service or wake is held for the closest family members and friends. It takes up to 30 minutes and is usually held in a small funeral chapel.

There are about 320,000 people living in Iceland and the deaths are about 1,800 to 2,000 per year in total. Of that 1,200 occur in the greater Reykjavík area.

Preparation of deceased[edit]

It is not customary to prepare the body with embalming; only a small cosmetic procedure is performed. This has been known to cause problems in cases where foreigners die in Iceland. A suggestion by the rannsóknarsvið of the Landspítali University Hospital (equivalent to a coroner's office) has led to the possibility of having the corpse specially preserved for transfer. This has to be specially authorized for each case and is not necessarily available at all times.


Most viewing are held in Chapel of Fossvogur or a kind of a prayinghouse next to Fossvogur's church (Fossvogskirkja). Fossvogskirkja only serves as a church for funerals.


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