11 basic etiquette tips when attending a funeral in Kenya

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The truth is, Kenyans might not have the best etiquette when they are guests at funerals or even weddings.

As a nation, there are some practices that we need to drop and learn to respect people’s private functions as guests.

If you’re invited to a funeral, you are expected to pay your last respects to the deceased, condole with the family and respect everyone.

Here are some basic etiquette rules that you need to follow during a funeral

Be on time. Arriving late to a funeral and any other event you’ve been invited to is disrespectful and it says a lot about your character. You don’t want to saunter into the funeral service when the bishop is saying the last prayers. It shows that you didn’t hold the deceased in high esteem.

Introduce yourself. This one applies to those who knew the deceased but didn’t know his/her family. Walk up to the family in all the humility you can amass, introduce yourself, explain how you knew the deceased, offer condolence and walk away. It’s that simple.

Dress appropriately. While wearing the colour black to a funeral is not compulsory, ensure you don’t dress up in flashy and revealing attires. You really don’t want to be the center of attention at a function where people are sad and emotional.

Do not attend if you feel your presence will make the deceased’s family uncomfortable. Being a drama queen/king at a funeral makes you look like a fool. It doesn’t matter how pressing the issue is, there’s a time and place to sort out any difference you might have. A funeral is certainly not one of them.

Control your kids. Having children running around and screaming is unacceptable. A funeral should not be converted into a playground.

Keep your phone on silent. Having your phone constantly ringing is disrespectful. It can also be distracting to people who are trying to concentrate on the ongoing event.

Do not take a picture of the deceased inside the casket. This is unethical and insensitive. You have no right to take a picture of a dead body.

Be tolerant of other guests. If you’re at a funeral with different religious beliefs from yours, don’t correct and criticize their doctrines. Try and be tolerant because you are only there for a few hours.

Do not overindulge. Be it food or drinks, do not show the family that you attended the funeral just for the snacks/refreshments. It really paints you in bad light and leaves the family questioning your main intention.

Sign the condolence book. The family of the deceased will keep the book for years. Write your name, your relationship with the deceased and a short message. It will mean a lot to the family.

If you can bring a gift, please do so. It shows that you are thoughtful and you care about the family of the deceased. You don’t have to go overboard and bring a super expensive gift.

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