The funeral procession is a tradition extending back to ancient times. In the Roman Empire, it was a critical, and often dramatic, part of the funeral rites. The deceased was carried on a bed-like tray from their home to wherever they would be buried, or to the funeral pyre, if they opted for cremation.
For wealthy, important people, the procession could be incredibly elaborate and include hired mourners (typically women). Some included mimes or actors dressed like the ancestors of the deceased person. Clients and family would also join.
In more recent history, these processions involved a horse-drawn conveyance and later, train. In 1909, an automobile was used in a funeral procession for the first time in the United States. The term “motorcade” is believed to have been coined just a few years later by Lyle Abbot, the automobile editor of the Arizona Republican.
The modern funeral procession includes a lead car, or hearse, followed by family and friends in their cars. Laws vary state by state, but in most states, including Wisconsin, the lead vehicle must observe all traffic lights, but once it has gone through the intersection, the rest of the cars can follow without stopping should the light turn red. They do still need to yield to emergency vehicles. Cars should yield to the procession, and in some cases, are required by law to do so. It’s important for you to come to the experts at Krause so we can help you understand how to keep your family safe during a funeral procession.
At Krause Funeral Homes, we also understand the final choice of transportation can be one more way to express your loved one’s personality. Our impeccably maintained Cadillac hearses and sedans offer a more traditional, stately feel. If you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path, we’re the only funeral home in Wisconsin to offer families the option of a 19th century-style hearse drawn by a V-twin-powered 3-wheel Harley-Davidson motorcycle:
To further personalize your loved one’s funeral, we can even arrange to lead the procession on a favorite road or past a sentimental place.
From the very beginning, the purpose of the procession was to communicate a deep sense of respect for the person who has passed. Krause maintains the same commitment to that principle with every procession we arrange.