56. Funeral Customs in the United States

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America is one of the most diversified countries in the world. It is comprised of many different cultures from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is truly a melting pot of diversity. All these cultures have come together to create a new culture - an American culture. Many of the traditions, customs, religions, and celebrations of these cultures have been adopted into American culture, including funeral traditions.

Traditional American funerals are basic. They usually include some sort of religious ritual, followed by a procession to the burial grounds, and a small ceremony at the grave site, but these vary depending on the culture. At most American funerals, the deceased person's family sends out a death announcement called an obituary. These obits normally serve to pass information to others about the deceased, and the time and day of the funeral event. At the church service, the deceased is usually eulogized by friends and family. This is where a person goes up to the front of the crowd to say a few things about the deceased, and how he or she affected their life. The procession usually takes the form of a caravan of private cars, and trucks that follow the hearse, which contains the deceased's coffin, and remains.

At the gravesite, another small ritual takes place where the deceased is given a blessing from a member of the clergy. Friends and family are then allowed to say goodbye to the deceased. There is an American tradition of picking up a handful of soil, and tossing it on the coffin as a way of saying farewell to the deceased. The family then gathers at a home, or restaurant with some of the attendees to have a meal, and to exchange stories before going on their way. Most cultures in the U.S. have adopted this traditional American funeral ritual, but many include features that are unique to their individual culture.

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