BURIAL: Placing of the body of the deceased in a grave or a tomb in the ground, usually in a cemetery.
CHAPEL: A large room located in a funeral home in which funerals or memorial services can be held.
COLUMBARIUM: A Latin word, meaning “dovecote”. So-called because the way the funerary niches are placed, side-by-side, resembles a dovecote. An indoor “cemetery” that enables people to visit throughout the year, protected from the elements. In addition to the cremation urn or urns, small objects, photographs, and even children’s drawings are also often kept in the niche.
COMMEMORATIVE SERVICE: A service or ceremony in memory of the deceased, without the presence of the body.
CREMATION: The reduction of remains into small bone fragments through intense heat. The body is generally placed in a cremation container. There can be no doubts as to the identity of the deceased: each crematory (retort) can only receive one body at the time and deceased’s name is identified in three places. Cremation, which takes about two hours, takes place at temperatures of 900° C. The ashes are then put into a sealed urn. Sometimes, a small quantity of ashes may be put into a keepsake urn or cremation jewellery. Loved ones may thus keep a small amount of the ashes.
CREMATORIUM: Building in which the cremation of bodies takes place.
CRYPT (funerary recess): A space in a wall built to receive a casket, then sealed and covered with a white marble plaque with an inscription about the deceased.
DONATION “IN MEMORY OF” (In Memorium): A donation made to honour the deceased, made to a cause or an organization in particular. These donations may often be made in lieu of gifts.
DOUBLE CRYPT: A crypt designed for two caskets lying side by side.
EMBALMING: The process of preserving a body by circulating preservative and antiseptic fluid through the veins, arteries and body cavities.
EULOGY: A brief speech describing the qualities of the deceased person and celebrating his or her accomplishments.
FULL COUCH CASKET: A casket with a cover that opens completely.
FUNERAL: A ceremony to render homage to the deceased. Funerals may or may not be religious events.
FUNERAL CORTEGE OR PROCESSION: The convoy of vehicles accompanying the hearse from the funeral service to the cemetery. May also apply to mourners following the casket as it is brought into and taken out of the church.
FUNERAL MONUMENT OR MARKER: Commonly referred to as headstones, they are usually made of metal or stone and include information such as the person’s name, date of birth and death, symbols and a tribute. They are called monuments when they stand upright.
FUNERARY RECESS (crypt): A space in a wall built to receive a casket, then sealed and covered with a white marble plaque engraved with an inscription about the deceased.
GRAVE: An excavation in the earth for the purpose of burying the deceased.
HALF COUCH CASKET: A casket in which only half of the cover opens to show the body of the deceased from the waist up.
HEARSE: A vehicle built to carry a casket from the funeral to the cemetery.
INTERMENT OF A CASKET: The burial of a casket in a cemetery or the placement of it in a mausoleum, which is, in a way, an indoor cemetery. The casket is placed in a crypt (also called a funerary recess), which is a space in a wall, then sealed and covered with a white marble plaque engraved with an inscription about the deceased.
INTERMENT OF ASHES (in an urn): Burial of an urn in a cemetery. The urn may also be kept by the loved ones, or inurned in a columbarium. In Québec, many cemeteries do not bury ashes in the winter because the ground is frozen.
INURNMENT: Interment of an urn inside a niche in a columbarium. Small objects, photographs, and even children’s drawings are also often kept in the niche.
MAUSOLEUM: A public or private building specifically designed to preserve human remains. It is usually a permanent, above-ground final resting place.
NICHE: A recessed space in a wall or in a columbarium used to place urns containing cremated remains. Small objects, photographs, and even children’s drawings are also often kept in the niche.
OBITUARY (death notice): A notice published in a newspaper or on the Internet that announces the death of a person, provides details about the funeral, lists the survivors and provides details about the person’s life.
PLOT: A measured piece of land in a cemetery for which a family or an individual purchases interment rights. A plot generally contains two or more graves.
PREARRANGEMENTS (preplanned funeral arrangements): Contract between a person and a funeral home that determines what should be done after that person dies: viewing, cremation, funeral.
PRIVATE FAMILY MAUSOLEUM: An above-ground structure, sometimes within a larger mausoleum, built to serve as a resting place for from two to twelve people, usually members of the same family.
REGISTER: A book to record the names of people who come to the funeral home to pay their respects. There is also space to record other information, such as the name, date of birth and death of the deceased, the name of the celebrant, the location of the final resting place, the time and date of the funeral, list of flowers received, etc.
SALON/PARLOUR: Room in a funeral complex where the family and loved ones come together.
SYMPATHY CARD: Card sent to the family of the deceased to express condolences.
URN: A container in which the cremated remains are placed.
VIEWING/VISITATION: An event that enables survivors and friends to see the body of the deceased in private, usually in a room in the funeral home.