Five Ways Latino Funerals are Filled with Love and Steeped in Tradition

latino day of the dead

Infused with cultural vibrancy, the love of family, and the reverence of strong faith, Latino funerals are unique celebrations of life.

Throughout the world, final farewells take many different forms. They range from the extremely somber to the boisterous and festive. Latino funerals are often lively affairs, rich in emotion and tradition. Culturally meaningful representations of heritage are typically found throughout the event and the family bond is evident. Please read on the learn more about the fascinating customs associated with Latino funerals.


The life of the departed is fully embraced.

Latino funerals are traditionally social events. Customary fare, such as pastelitos, tamales, and pan dulce, is usually served at the wake, and it’s not uncommon for family and friends to gather for extended viewing periods that can last well into the evening. The atmosphere is often reminiscent of a party in honor of the one who passed on. Among formal devoted Catholics, the visitation may be a sacred vigil complete with scripture readings, quiet reflection, and prayers.


Religion takes center stage.

Many Latino families have a religious affiliation with the Catholic church, which strongly influences funeral traditions. Death is considered a time when the soul returns home, rendering it both a joyous and solemn occasion for surviving family members and friends. Prayer and worship are important elements of death rituals and many families adorn their departed loved ones with religious mementos, such as rosaries or statues of saints. While not all Hispanics are Catholic, religion in general remains a central fixture for this population.


The cemetery is a place of reverence and adoration.

Due to heavy Catholic influence, cremation is less popular than traditional burial among Latinos, although it is gaining acceptance. Those who opt for cremation usually bury the cremated remains in a cemetery so they can adhere to the Vatican’s guidelines for the conservation of ashes. After the funeral ceremony, family and friends gather for graveside services performed by a priest or other religious leader. Afterwards, they assemble to pray, share traditional foods, and remember the departed.


The mourning period is extended.

Honoring and celebrating the departed long after the funeral is important in the Hispanic culture. For example, novenarios are recitations or prayers that family and close friends perform for nine consecutive days after the burial. They are meant to bring comfort to the grieving and pray for the soul of the one who passed away. An annual commemoration on the anniversary of the death is usually arranged, as are specific times of reverence throughout the year.


El Día de Los Muertos is annual celebration to honor the departed.

Every November 2nd, Latino families celebrate El Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. Those who have passed on are honored through a number of meaningful celebrations and rituals. People often gather to decorate the gravesites of deceased family members and friends with candles, wreaths, flowers, and various gifts. Prayer, music, and the sharing of fond memories are among the many ways that survivors pay tribute to their departed loved ones on this special day.


Latino funerals represent a rich cultural heritage and deep familial ties. Whether you need help selecting appropriate flowers, arranging an extended visitation, or creating a remarkable celebration, our experienced providers can help. From funeral preplanning to personalized memorialization options, our matchless level of service has long made us the trusted choice for families throughout Delaware.


Evan W. Smith Funeral Services welcomes people of all ethnicities, races, and religious beliefs. If you wish to plan a distinctive funeral that honors your family traditions and the memory of your loved one, please contact our compassionate professionals.


About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, grief counseling, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit

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