Funerals in Spain: Traditions, Procedures, and Information for Expats

Marc Vallhonesta
Although death is a natural process, it still remains a very difficult topic for discussion for some people. Even more painful can be the situation when it comes to the death of a loved one, which can even be a taboo in some families.
Funeral services in Spain have made significant progress in recent decades and now offer services that go beyond legal formalities, organizing the ceremony and bidding farewell to the deceased.
Most funeral companies provide families with assistance in managing the emotional stress associated with loss, such as psychological support, and constantly train their staff in dealing with various types of grief.
Additionally, in recent years, funeral agencies have also specialized in repatriating the bodies of foreign citizens to their home countries.
Let's consider all the stages of funeral services in Spain.

Choosing a funeral home
First of all, whether the choice is made before or immediately after death, the family must choose a company that will take care of the necessary procedures and enter into a contract for the provision of services with it. In Spain, there is a free market for funeral agencies, which can be challenging for families. However, in Spain, there are service and price comparison websites to facilitate the entire process, such as Funos, for example.
After selecting the service, the funeral home retrieves the body from the place of death and transports it to its premises for preparation. Additionally, they handle the death registration process and obtain permission for burial or cremation.
It should be noted that in the case of a judicial death (accident or homicide), a court permit may be required for further actions by the funeral home. Depending on the circumstances, a forensic examination of the body may be conducted at the provincial Institute of Legal Medicine.

The average cost of a funeral in Spain ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 euros.
The funeral industry can offer services to suit any taste. It all depends on the size of your wallet.
Body preparation
The next step is preparing the deceased's body, which may involve procedures from makeup to significant cosmetic procedures, as well as embalming or preservation.
Preparation details, along with funeral and burial or cremation details, can be set before death by explicit request of the deceased in the will or oral directive. Although final decisions are usually made by close relatives, funeral agencies also provide support during this process.
The body viewing ceremony was usually the most poignant part of the farewell ritual in Spain. It was usually held in the deceased's home one or two nights before the funeral. Nowadays, most viewing ceremonies are held in funeral homes, which are specialized funeral complexes where the viewing takes place.
Viewing ceremonies in Spain usually last from 24 to 48 hours.
A typical modern funeral home building in Spain features minimalist architecture with plenty of natural light inside. It operates akin to an airport with a scheduled timetable: several funerals can take place simultaneously. Although it's a somber event, relatives don't cry but rather reminisce about the deceased and engage in conversation with each other.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in funeral ceremonies lasting less than 12 hours, and there are even families choosing to proceed directly to burial or cremation without a viewing.

Regarding the venue for the viewing ceremony, in Spain, any city with a population of more than 5,000 people currently has a cemetery. They are usually modern buildings resembling hotels, with private rooms for viewing the deceased and amenities such as a cafeteria, parking, and a multi-denominational prayer room.

The Viewing Ceremony
The viewing ceremony has also undergone significant changes over time. Previously, in Spain, due to the dominance of Catholicism in society, funerals were primarily religious and held in churches. Nowadays, most funerals, whether secular or religious, are mainly held in prayer rooms within funeral complexes, eliminating the need for transportation.

Secular ceremonies do not have a defined liturgy. Relatives and friends typically reminisce about the deceased in their speeches, and video and photo materials are displayed, accompanied by live music, turning the viewing ceremony into a celebration of the deceased's life. Following the ceremony, either cremation or burial takes place.

In Spain, cremations now account for about 50% of funeral services, especially in large cities and coastal areas.
Here is what a Spanish cemetery looks like. Walls are lined with niches for urns after cremation. This option is more economical.

Repatriation of the Body
Repatriating the body to its home country requires special handling, with care and family accompaniment being key. There are companies specializing in funeral support that can provide significant assistance during these emotionally and bureaucratically complex times.

Companies also represented on the Funos platform, have specialized staff to provide appropriate services according to the customs and wishes of any family not citizens of Spain. Additionally, they speak the migrants' native language.
Marc Vallhonesta
Сервис сравнения услуг похоронных бюро Funos, который запустил в 2021 году Марк, пока не имеет конкурентов в Испании. Идея стартапа появилась в разгар ковида, когда предприниматель был вынужден закрыть свой бизнес по проведению мероприятий. В тот период многие люди впервые столкнулись с тем, что такое смерть близких и часто были просто беспомощны.
Идея Марка оказалась выгодна и похоронным службам, так как на рынке очень высокая конкуренция, а Funos стабильно дает им клиентов. Все объясняется не только удобством и автоматизацией процесса, но и тем, что скидка через платформу достигает 50 процентов.
Стартап постепенно стал превращаться в супермаркет похоронных услуг. Теперь он также предлагает кредиты на похороны, управление процедурами после смерти и наследства и сравнение страховки от смерти.

Impulse Dossier

Marc Vallhonesta
The funeral service comparison platform Funos, launched by Marc in 2021, currently has no competitors in Spain. The startup idea arose during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when the entrepreneur was forced to close his event planning business. During that period, many people encountered the death of loved ones for the first time and often felt helpless.

Marc's idea proved to be profitable for funeral services as there is intense competition in the market, and Funos consistently brings them clients. This success is attributed not only to the convenience and automation of the process but also to the fact that discounts through the platform reach up to 50 percent.

The startup gradually evolved into a supermarket for funeral services. Now it also offers funeral loans, management of procedures after death and inheritance, and comparison of death insurance.