What Is the Speech at a Funeral Called? Understanding the Eulogy and Its Importance

Have you ever attended a funeral and wondered about all the different types of speeches that happen during the ceremony? One of the most common and powerful speeches at a funeral is the eulogy. Eulogies can be given by anyone who knew the deceased well enough to share some heartfelt words in their memory. These are often emotional and touching, and they offer an opportunity to remember and honor the life of the person who has passed away.

A eulogy is not just a way to reflect on the past, however. It is also a chance to celebrate the life of the person who has passed, to speak to their character, and to remember their impact on those around them. In many ways, a eulogy is like a tribute to someone’s life, and it serves as a celebration of that person’s legacy. Whether the eulogy is given by a family member, a close friend, or even a coworker, it is a way to bring people together in a shared sense of loss, and a way to say goodbye to someone who will be deeply missed.

While the prospect of giving a eulogy can be daunting, it is important to remember the significance of the occasion. A eulogy can be a powerful way to connect with others, to express your own feelings of loss, and to honor the memory of someone who meant a great deal to you. And while it may not be easy, delivering a heartfelt eulogy can be a deeply meaningful and rewarding experience. Ultimately, it is a chance to say goodbye to someone who will be missed, and to celebrate their life in a way that will be remembered for years to come.

Types of Funeral Services

Funerals are a way to honor and celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed away. There are various types of funeral services that cater to different customs, beliefs, and personal preferences. Some of the most common types of funeral services are:

  • Traditional Funeral Service: This type of service typically includes a viewing or visitation, a funeral ceremony, and a burial. The viewing or visitation allows family and friends to pay their respects and say goodbye to the deceased. The funeral ceremony may involve religious or cultural rituals, eulogies, and music. The burial takes place after the ceremony, often at a cemetery where the deceased will be laid to rest.
  • Cremation Service: With cremation, the body of the deceased is reduced to ashes through high heat. A cremation service can include a viewing or visitation, a memorial service, and the scattering or burial of the ashes. The memorial service may involve similar elements to a traditional funeral, such as eulogies, music, and readings. Cremation services offer more flexibility in terms of timing, location, and cost.
  • Green Funeral Service: A green funeral service emphasizes environmental sustainability and promotes natural burial practices. This includes burial in a biodegradable casket or shroud, without embalming or concrete vaults. The service may take place in a natural setting, such as a forest or meadow. Green funeral services reflect a growing awareness of the impact of traditional burial practices on the environment.

Choosing the right funeral service can help honor the life of the deceased and provide closure for the family and friends left behind. It’s important to consider the wishes and beliefs of the deceased, as well as the cultural and religious traditions of the family. Funeral directors and planners can help guide the decision-making process and ensure that the service meets the needs and expectations of all involved.

History of Funeral Speeches

Funeral speeches have been a part of human culture for centuries. Ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans were known for their elaborate funeral rituals, which often included speeches given by prominent members of the community. These speeches were intended to honor and remember the deceased, as well as provide an opportunity for members of the community to come together in grief and support.

  • In ancient Greece, funeral speeches were known as epitaphios logos, which translates to “funeral oration.”
  • In ancient Rome, funeral speeches were called laudations, and were typically delivered by someone close to the deceased.
  • In the Middle Ages, funeral sermons became popular in Christian cultures, and were often delivered by a religious figure such as a priest.

Throughout history, funeral speeches have evolved to reflect changes in culture and society. Today, funeral speeches are often given by family members and close friends of the deceased, and may include personal anecdotes, memories, and reflections on the person’s life. They serve as a way to celebrate the person’s life, acknowledge their impact on others, and help those in attendance find closure and comfort in their grief.

While funeral speeches may take different forms and formats depending on the culture and traditions of the community they are part of, their underlying purpose remains the same: to honor the deceased and provide comfort to those left behind.

The Importance of Eulogies

One of the most significant parts of a funeral service is the eulogy. It is the speech given in honor of the deceased, primarily focusing on their life, achievements, and legacy. Often delivered by a family member, friend, or a religious leader who knew the deceased personally, the eulogy aims to pay tribute to the life that has passed on.

A eulogy is not just a speech but a way to remember and honor the life of the departed. It is a chance for the people who knew the deceased to reflect upon their life, their accomplishments, and the impact they had on the people around them. Eulogies provide an opportunity to celebrate the life of the deceased and to express the feelings of love, admiration, and respect that the attendees had for them.

  • Reflect on the Life of the Deceased – Eulogies offer attendees a chance to reflect on the life of the deceased. They help them to focus on the happy memories, the moments that brought joy to their lives, and the qualities that made him or her unique.
  • Honor the Legacy of the Deceased – A well-delivered eulogy can inspire others to emulate the good deeds of the deceased, leading to a lasting legacy that can impact many generations.
  • Bring Comfort to the Attendees – Eulogies are essential in bringing comfort to those attending the funeral. They can help attendees feel connected to the deceased, and the stories shared in the eulogy can help ease the pain of grief and bring some sense of closure.

Eulogies are a vital aspect of funeral services as they offer a communal way of celebrating the life of the deceased. They provide comfort, closure, and an opportunity for reflection, ensuring that the memory of the deceased remains alive for years to come.

At the end of the day, the eulogy is not so much about a person’s death, but rather about their life. It is a celebration of the person’s accomplishments, the memories they made with their loved ones, and the legacy they left behind. It is a way to ensure that the person’s memory will live on through the ages and that their contributions will never be forgotten.

Examples of Eulogies

If you are struggling to write a eulogy, be assured, you are not alone. Writing a eulogy can be a daunting task, especially at a time when you are dealing with grief and emotional turmoil.

Some popular eulogy examples that you can use for inspiration include Steve Jobs’ eulogy by his sister Mona Simpson, Whitney Houston’s eulogy given by Kevin Costner, and Gerald Ford’s eulogy delivered by former President George W. Bush. These eulogies are filled with heartfelt words and offer comfort to those left behind while celebrating the legacy of the deceased.

Famous Quotes to Use in Eulogies

At times, people find it challenging to express their feelings through words. When this happens, turning to famous quotes can be an excellent way to find the right words to use in your eulogy. Here are a few famous quotes to consider:

Quote Author
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” Tony Robbins

Using famous quotes in your eulogy can be a great way to emphasize your words and helps to encapsulate the ideas you want to express. Each quote holds different meanings that can resonate with the audience in various ways.

Differences Between Eulogies and Obituaries

At a funeral, it’s common to hear speeches and tributes to the deceased. However, not all speeches are the same. Eulogies and obituaries differ in their purposes and contents, although they both serve to honor the person who passed away.

  • Eulogies: A eulogy is a speech given at a funeral or memorial service that praises and celebrates the life of the person who died. It usually includes personal memories, anecdotes, and reflections on the person’s character, achievements, and impact on others. Eulogies may be delivered by a family member, a close friend, or someone who knew the deceased well. They aim to comfort and inspire the audience, as well as pay tribute to the deceased’s legacy.
  • Obituaries: In contrast, an obituary is a written notice of a person’s death that appears in newspapers, online websites, or other media outlets. It provides factual information about the deceased, such as their name, age, date and place of birth, occupation, surviving family members, and funeral arrangements. Obituaries may also include a brief biography, accomplishments, and hobbies of the deceased, as well as any charitable organizations or causes they supported. Obituaries aim to inform the public of someone’s passing and to commemorate their life in a concise and respectful way.

While both eulogies and obituaries serve as means of honoring the deceased, they differ in their formats, delivery methods, and audiences. Eulogies tend to be more emotional, personal, and subjective, while obituaries are more objective, informative, and impersonal. Eulogies are meant to be heard and felt by those who knew and cared about the deceased, while obituaries are more widely read and shared by the general public.

Ultimately, the purpose of both eulogies and obituaries is to remember and honor the life of the person who passed away. They provide a way for people to express their grief, gratitude, and love, and to reflect on the fleeting nature of life. Whether it’s through spoken words or written text, eulogies and obituaries create a lasting legacy for those we have lost.

Sample Funeral Speeches

Writing a speech for a funeral can be a daunting task, especially when you are grieving the loss of a loved one. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and nervous about speaking publicly, but the best way to honor the deceased is to deliver a heartfelt speech that celebrates their life.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a funeral speech, as each one should be personal and unique to the individual being celebrated. However, there are a few pointers you can follow to ensure that your speech is both meaningful and appropriate.

  • Keep it brief: Generally, a funeral speech should last between 3 to 5 minutes. This gives you enough time to share a few personal anecdotes or memories while still keeping the attention of those in attendance.
  • Be sincere: It’s important to speak from the heart during a funeral speech. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing personal stories, it’s okay to keep your speech more formal. The key is to be sincere and convey your genuine emotions.
  • Add humor: Funeral speeches don’t always have to be serious and somber. Including a few humorous stories or memories can help lighten the mood and celebrate the joyous moments of the person’s life.

Some people find it helpful to write their speech ahead of time and rehearse it a few times before the actual funeral. This can help ease your nerves and ensure that you deliver a confident and heartfelt speech.

Here are a few samples of funeral speeches that you can use as inspiration:

Sample 1:

“Today we celebrate the life of [Name of Deceased], a person who inspired so many during their lifetime. [He/She] was a dedicated parent, a loving spouse, a loyal friend, and so much more. [Name of Deceased] always had a smile on their face, even in the toughest of times. They taught us the importance of perseverance, kindness, and gratitude. Although [he/she] may no longer be with us, [his/her] spirit will live on forever.”

Sample 2:

“As we gather here today to say goodbye to [Name of Deceased], we are reminded of the wonderful impact [he/she] had on our lives. [Name of Deceased] was a true testament to the power of love, kindness, and compassion. [His/Her] warmth and generosity touched everyone who had the pleasure of knowing [him/her]. While we may feel saddened by [his/her] passing, we can take solace in the fact that [he/she] lived a full and beautiful life.”

Remember, a funeral speech is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the life of a loved one. Don’t be afraid to speak from the heart and share your fondest memories and stories. Your words will help keep the memory of the deceased alive, and bring comfort to those who are grieving.

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Etiquette for Delivering Funeral Speeches

Funerals are not easy occasions to face. The grief of losing a loved one and the commitment to say goodbye make it one of the most difficult events to attend. However, if you have been asked to deliver a funeral speech, remember that it is an honor and a gesture of love and respect towards the deceased. Here are some tips to deliver an emotionally impactful eulogy while maintaining proper funeral etiquette.

  • Plan your eulogy in advance: A well-prepared eulogy creates a strong connection with the audience and the deceased. Plan the structure of your speech and make sure it includes personal stories, anecdotes, and a meaningful conclusion.
  • Respect the audience: Keep in mind that the audience is grieving and emotionally vulnerable. Avoid using humor, inappropriate language, or exaggerations. Speak honestly, with empathy and compassion.
  • Stay focused: It is easy to become unfocused or overwhelmed with emotions, so stay on topic and keep the eulogy concise. Prepare as if you were giving a TED talk, and practice your speech beforehand to ensure it fits within the allotted time.

The following are additional tips to keep in mind when delivering a funeral speech:

  • Be aware of your body language: Stand up straight, and speak clearly and slowly. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and use appropriate gestures and facial expressions to emphasize your points.
  • Dress accordingly: Dress appropriately for the occasion. Wear dark or subdued colors, and avoid anything too distracting or revealing.
  • Thank the audience: Show gratitude towards the audience for attending the funeral and listening to the eulogies. Convey your appreciation and sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased.

In summary, delivering a funeral speech is a difficult yet honorable responsibility. By following proper funeral etiquette and being empathetic towards the audience, you can deliver a heartfelt eulogy that provides comfort and solace in the midst of grief.

Do’s Don’ts
Speak honestly and empathetically Use humor or inappropriate language
Plan your eulogy in advance Go off-topic or exceed allotted time
Dress appropriately Wear distracting or revealing clothing

Remember, the funeral speech is a tribute to the deceased and an opportunity to provide comfort to grieving individuals. By following these guidelines, you can deliver a memorable and fitting eulogy that honors the life of the deceased and brings peace to those who knew them.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Funeral Speeches

Delivering a speech at a funeral is a difficult and emotional task that requires careful consideration. It is important to pay respect to the deceased, while also offering comfort and compassion to the bereaved. However, there are common mistakes that people make when delivering a funeral speech, which can detract from the overall message and impact. Here are seven mistakes to avoid when delivering a funeral speech:

  • Losing Focus: One common mistake is to lose focus on the deceased and the purpose of the speech. It’s important to remember who you’re speaking for and what message you want to convey.
  • Excessive Length: Funeral speeches should be concise and to the point. Anything longer than 10 minutes risks losing the audience’s attention and becoming ineffective.
  • Focusing Only on the Positive: While it’s important to celebrate the deceased’s life and accomplishments, don’t ignore challenges or struggles that they faced. This can give the impression of a superficial and disingenuous eulogy.
  • Humor at the Wrong Time: Humor can be a powerful tool to break tension and ease grief, but only when used appropriately and in good taste. Don’t make jokes at the expense of the deceased or the bereaved.
  • Forgetting the Bereaved: Remember that the speech isn’t just about the deceased—it’s about offering comfort and support to loved ones. Make sure to acknowledge their feelings and offer words of encouragement and hope.
  • Inadequate Preparation: Delivering a funeral speech can be emotionally overwhelming, but it’s still important to prepare thoroughly. Practice your speech several times to ensure that you are comfortable with the material, and can deliver it confidently and effectively.
  • Overuse of Clichés: Finally, avoid using cliché phrases or platitudes, such as “they’re in a better place now” or “time heals all wounds.” These can come across as insincere and trite.


A funeral speech is an opportunity to pay tribute to a loved one, offer support to the bereaved, and provide a sense of closure. By avoiding these seven common mistakes, you can deliver a meaningful and effective eulogy that truly honors the deceased’s memory.

FAQs: What is the Speech at a Funeral Called?

1. What is a speech at a funeral called?
The speech that is delivered during a funeral service is commonly referred to as the eulogy.

2. Who typically gives the eulogy?
A family member or close friend is often chosen to give the eulogy at a funeral.

3. What is the purpose of a eulogy?
The eulogy serves as a tribute to the deceased person’s life, accomplishments, personality, and legacy, and helps the bereaved to express their feelings and share memories.

4. How long is a typical eulogy?
A eulogy usually lasts between 5-10 minutes, but can be longer or shorter depending on the individual circumstances and preferences.

5. What should be included in a eulogy?
A typical eulogy includes the deceased person’s life story, accomplishments, hobbies, interests, personality traits, and any other relevant details that help to paint a clear picture of who they were and what they meant to the people around them.

6. Can multiple people give a eulogy?
Yes, it is common for multiple people to give a eulogy at a funeral, especially if the deceased had a large social or family circle.

7. Can a eulogy be given online?
Yes, some funeral services offer online eulogies or memorial services, where people can record or live-stream their speeches to be shared with a wider audience.

Closing Thoughts

Losing a loved one is never easy, and delivering a eulogy can be an emotional and daunting experience. However, it can also be a cathartic and healing way to celebrate the life of the person who has passed away. We hope that this article has helped to answer any questions you may have had about what a speech at a funeral is called. Thanks for reading, and please visit us again for more helpful articles.