Here at St. Charles, we provide the very best service for all of our clients’ needs. Whether you need a monument or new lettering added to a headstone, we are passionate about providing quality service during difficult times.
Once a custom memorial is commissioned and your family has sat Shiva, many choose to hold an unveiling ceremony. An unveiling ceremony can be a healing way to provide closure for the mourning family and also to uphold the traditions of your faith. Simply put, an unveiling ceremony is where the custom memorial is formally placed at the deceased’s final resting place and uncovered
If an unveiling ceremony is requested, we can ensure that your loved one’s headstone remains covered or placement is delayed until the ceremony is scheduled. Below we’ve gathered everything you need to know about the traditional unveiling ceremony and the customs surrounding it.
This post has been updated as of September 2019, from its original publish date of July 20th, 2015. It has been edited for consistency and updated information on our services.
When Does The Unveiling Ceremony Take Place?
Usually, the unveiling ceremony takes place about thirty days after the burial. The thirtieth day is considered the end of the Sheloshim, or mourning period. However, the ceremony should be coordinated in a manner most convenient for the family. The ceremony may be conducted between thirty days and one year following the burial.
The year following the death of a loved one is called the Yahrzeit, which represents a focus on passing memories and wisdom from one generation to the next. The most important aspect of scheduling the unveiling ceremony is choosing a time that best fits with the family’s circumstances.
What Happens During an Unveiling Ceremony?
During the unveiling ceremony, the headstone may be installed at the gravesite. It is also fairly common for the memorial to be in place and simply covered. During the ceremony, the mourners lift the cloth to reveal the monument. Revealing the headstone is seen as revealing the legacy of the deceased. Essentially, this is the heart of the ceremony.
Furthermore, a traditional ceremony will also feature readings from the book of Psalms and often a eulogy from a close family member or rabbi. The ceremony will also contain recitation of two specific prayers: the El Maleh Rahamim (God full of compassion) and the Mourner’s Kaddish, which is traditionally recited aloud with a minimum of ten present.
Placing the Stones
A common custom is placing pebbles or stones on the headstone. While this specific practice has many different interpretations, essentially it is a representation of the loved ones’ presence at the monument. The stones are also a symbolic tribute to the legacy and enduring memory of the departed.
Planning for the Unveiling Ceremony
It is important to plan for the unveiling ceremony accordingly. Sending cards or reminders to family members you wish to attend is recommended. Their presence will be a consoling reminder of the memory and legacy of your loved one.
At St. Charles Monuments, we have served Long Island’s Jewish community for years. We have many years of experience providing monuments that can fit your personal and religious needs. Contact us today to discuss a monument to memorialize your loved one in a way that celebrates their life and memory. We are here to answer any questions and to help you through this process.