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The Cammack Family
4619 Judson Road
| Longview, TX 75605
Tel: (903) 663-3737
Sullivan Funeral Home
100 E. Travis Street
| Marshall, TX 75670
Tel: (903) 938-7777

Wake, Viewing, and Visitation: What Is the Difference?

Published: May 16, 2022

When talking with funeral homes in Longview, TX, you may be asked if you would like to hold services such as a wake, visitation, or viewing. If you are not familiar with these events, you may not be sure if you should hold one or not. While these events are similar and are often used interchangeably, there are some differences you should be aware of. In this article, we are going to look at each of these services so that you can feel confident in knowing which service might be right for you and your family.


Wakes can be traced back to the Celtics in Ireland. This tradition consists of guests staying overnight to look over the body, protect it from evil, and mourn. There is typically a priest that leads mourners in prayer.

It was normally held in the home of the deceased, and while that can still take place, today these events are often held in funeral homes and other convenient locations.


A viewing is a casual event that takes place typically the day before the funeral. This is a come-and-go event which means there is no set time for guests to arrive or leave. Instead, they can arrive and leave anytime within the designated hours.

During a viewing, the body of the deceased is in the room in a casket. Normally, this casket will be open so that guests can approach the body and say their final goodbyes. While not everyone feels comfortable with this, and guests certainly do not have to approach the body, many guests find this act of seeing the body as a way to begin healing.

During the viewing, there may be light refreshments available such as cookies and punch. The guests typically just stay long enough to offer condolences to the family, mingle with other guests for a bit, and say their final goodbyes to the deceased.


A visitation is just like a viewing, in almost every way and that is why you will often hear these two terms often being used interchangeably however, there is one major difference and that is with visitation, the body of the deceased is not present.

Which Service Should You Have?

If you need help deciding which service you would like to hold, consider a few things such as:

  • Religious beliefs – Do you or your loved one hold any strong religious beliefs that would have you lean toward one service or another?
  • Budget- If you are deciding between a visitation or a viewing and on a limited budget, visitation might be a better option since services to prepare the body for display would not have to be performed
  • Family Preference – Is there one event that your family feels would help them heal more than another? For example, would they benefit more from being able to see the deceased for final goodbyes?

Taking these things into consideration can help you decide which service to choose when making arrangements with funeral homes in Longview, TX. If you need further help or information about any of these services, let us know as we are here to help answer any questions you may have.

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