Pentecostalism is a movement within Christianity, with more focus on the presence of the Holy Spirit than many other Christian groups. As such, Pentecostal funeral traditions are similar to those of other Christian movements and denominations. However, there are some differences which are important to be aware of if you're attending a Pentecostal funeral.
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Pentecostal funerals are most commonly held in a church. However, they are sometimes performed in a funeral home or in a cemetery, at the side of the grave. They can also be held partly at a church or funeral home and partly at the burial plot. The location is usually decided as per the last wishes of the deceased, but if he didn't get the chance to make arrangements, it will be the family's call.
The funeral service is carried out by a minister and ranges from anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes in length. Again, the deceased or her family decide this. The minister starts by leading the congregation in prayer and song, then offers his condolences to the family and reads passages from the Bible. The service tends to be a bit more upbeat than other Christian funerals, concentrating on celebrating the life of the recently deceased.
Previously, it had been traditional to wear black to a Pentecostal funeral, much like in most other Christian movements and denominations, secular funerals and many more religions, black being synonymous with sadness and mourning. However, more recently it has become customary to wear white. This is because those who follow the Pentecostal movement believe in the resurrection of the body and the white clothes are used to symbolise this.
There are several other traditions common at Pentecostal funerals. Some of these have been adapted from African-American customs. There is often a viewing of the body after the service, for family and friends, and a receiving line for people to offer their condolences to the family of the deceased. Flower girls, who are the female version of pallbearers, take care of the family, while other ladies, known as nurses, comfort anyone else who is especially upset.
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