Tree with snow in a cemetery

How are Funerals in the Winter Handled?

Tree with snow in a cemetery

There is no ideal time for a funeral, but some seasons are more conducive to assembling at a cemetery for burial than others. When the colder temperatures arrive, and a funeral has to be scheduled, many people ask, “How are funerals in the winter handled?”

The presence of extremely low temperatures, wind, snow, and ice can complicate an already challenging situation. Adverse weather conditions can make travel hazardous for attendees from out of town. Walking and standing within an unplowed cemetery in the cold can be detrimental, especially for elderly mourners. 

Despite these circumstances, a few measures can be taken to make funerals held in the winter months more comfortable for those involved.

Be Prepared with the Right Clothing and Footwear

Layering is key to staying warm and comfortable during a winter funeral service. Wear a proper jacket and accessories, such as hats, scarves, and gloves to protect your body. Additionally, if warranted, select snow boots over the footwear typically chosen for an occasion such as this. 

Stay Indoors as Much as You Can

It is best to avoid a rushed graveside service due to the inability to withstand the elements. Feeling bad for uncomfortable attendees can cause eulogies and heartfelt words to be abbreviated or hastily spoken to finish up. Plan accordingly so your loved one receives the dignified remembrance that they deserve.

Although burial is synonymous with being outdoors, it is feasible to limit the time outside as much as possible without sacrificing the quality of the funeral services. First, you can elect to hold the service indoors, within the funeral home’s chapels. The rabbi will perform a bulk of the speech and prayers during this time. Family members or other individuals wishing to speak would do so here as well. Therefore, reducing the time of the interment service at the gravesite.  

Upon arrival at the cemetery, stay inside your car until it is necessary to leave it. There is no reason to extend the time for anyone, especially elderly, infirm mourners,  to huddle around the graveside. Prayers and other Jewish traditions, such as shoveling dirt onto the casket, will still be part of the interment.

Offer Alternatives for Those Who are Traveling or Physically Unable to Withstand the Weather

If anyone cannot travel due to adverse conditions, offer a live-streamed version of the funeral. This will allow them to be present without a physical presence. To capture sentiments, create a memorial page or use the decedent’s funeral service page for family members and friends to share memories and stories about the deceased. This is an excellent way for those unable to attend the funeral service to express their love and grief, creating an online space that brings people together in their shared sorrow.

We Can Help with Funeral Planning in the Winter

Funerals in the wintertime can be difficult, but there are ways to make them more comfortable and meaningful for everyone involved. With the proper preparation, you can create an atmosphere of support and community during a difficult time. 

In the event of inclement weather, we welcome you to hold a funeral service in one of our two beautiful chapels. Our Waters of Babylon Chapel can seat up to 300 attendees, and our more intimate Isaiah Chapel can accommodate up to 100 attendees.

If you have any concerns about how Jewish funerals in the winter are handled, contact our funeral directors at Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York. Our team will guide you through every step of the process and will be happy to answer any questions. Call us today at 631-454-9600.