Armenian Funeral Services
As a Christian Orthodox sect, Armenians traditionally do not cremate, and stick to burying their dead due to the beliefs of their church. Armenians divide the burial ritual into three different parts after a death occurs.
Dan Gark should be performed the night before the funeral, while the Yegeghetsvo Gark and Kerezmanee Gark are performed on the day of the funeral. Armenian Orthodox Christians host gathering with family and friends of the deceased at the home of the family in order to mourn the death. The body of the deceased is typically kept at home until the funeral service and burial occur. Dan Gark is then performed at home before other services occur, it is often done at home the night before the funeral service, however it can also be done at a church if the family of the deceased chooses to do so.
Funeral services can be done at any day of the week except for Saturday afternoons after 3:00 PM and Sundays. It is a good idea to contact a pastor to help with the planning for the funerals in order to receive guidance when it comes to following the Canon Law of the Armenian Church. Armenians usually conduct the Church Service in an Armenian church and nowhere else, therefore this eliminates some options that are open for other sects of Orthodoxy. Moreover, many Armenian Orthodox Churches are able to provide wakes for the deceased if the family chooses to do so. Wakes are considered an appropriate time for any other fraternal and non-religious rites to be provided. The funeral service is considered a serious religious ritual in which no other rites should be delivered. Many churches will suggest that the family of the deceased host the wake somewhere else if there are non-religious rites that need to be delivered.
Views on Cremation
The Armenian church does not tolerate cremation, and in a case of a cremation happening, the church needs to be notified well in advance due to these situations being outside the Canons of the Armenian Church. The church then asks for instruction from ecclesiastical authority.
Memorializing the Dead
The grave of the deceased is usually visited by close friends and family members on specific days such as the seventh day and the fortieth day after death occurs and on the anniversary of the death and whenever a New Year starts. The first forty days after the death occurs are considered mourning days in which specific actions must be taken such as abstaining from shaving as a male family member and dressing in dark colours as any family member of the deceased.