Here in the UK, the modern day wake is known as the reception that takes place after the funeral. Wakes are more relaxed and tend to take place in church halls, homes, pubs or hotels. People are informally invited along following a funeral service to remember the deceased in a more relaxed environment. The purpose of a modern day wake is to share stories and memories of your loved ones and to celebrate their life. They also provide an opportunity for friends and family of the deceased to offer each other comfort and support.
During a wake, families may choose to serve refreshments that reflect their loved one - often the deceased favourite food and drink will make an appearance along with photos and music. Whilst wakes are a time of reflection, they can be often upbeat and a time to celebrate the life of the deceased.
During the pandemic, where numbers to funerals have been restricted and people have not been able to travel for a funeral, the wake has taken on a new meaning with families all across the UK celebrating the life of their loved ones months after they have departed.
Wakes are very personal to the family of the bereaved and will differ depending on the circumstances surrounding the death. For someone who has lived to a grand age, a celebration of life may be appropriate. For someone who has been taken unexpectedly and before their time, a wake will be a more sombre affair and a time to reflect, remember and grieve with close family and friends.