Obituaries and flying the flag at half-mast

Obituary in a newspaper

The publication of an obituary in a newspaper is a commonplace custom but not obligatory. An obituary usually includes the name of the deceased, family relations (for example, ‘our beloved father’ or reference to a spouse etc.), profession or title, place and date of birth, and place and date of death. The name of the town is sufficient as the place of death. It is also customary to include a verse from the Bible or a hymn or other quotation suitable for the deceased in the obituary.

Since this announcement also functions as an invitation to the funeral ceremony and reception, the times and places of these should be stated clearly. If the funeral is only for the close family, an obituary can be published after the ceremony to thank people for their condolences.

Prayers at a church

Prayers will be read for the deceased and the bereaved at a service held in the parish church of the deceased. This takes place either the Sunday following the funeral or when the parish has been informed about the death. It is traditional for the family to attend the service. They should confirm the correct time and place with the parish.

Flags at half-mast

On the day of the death, a flag will be flown at half-mast for the whole day. On the day of the funeral, the flag is held at half-mast at least until the end of the funeral service but can also be displayed at half-mast or fullmast for the whole day. If the funeral coincides with an official flag day, the flag will be hoisted to full-mast after the ceremony.