Why Does It Always Rain at Funerals? What Does It Mean?

It’s funny how sometimes the weather can match how we’re feeling. On our happiest days, we often remember the sunniest skies without a cloud in sight. Meanwhile, some of our saddest memories, like funerals, are often paired with rain. 

Rain at funerals might seem to happen more often because that is what you remember most. Some cultures believe that it always rains at funerals because the rain signifies the deceased’s spirit making their way to heaven. While rain is usually a good sign, some cultures believe it to be a bad omen. 

Let’s talk more about rain at funerals, what it means, and why some cultures choose to avoid it.

Why Rain at Funerals Might Be Common

Rain at a funeral might be common because changing funeral plans can be difficult. This may also be your experience because rain may be more common where you live, and you may remember rainy funerals more. 

So many of us have experienced a funeral of a loved one, and quite often, we also experience rain on the same day. It leaves many people wondering why rain seems to fall on such a sad day. 

So, let’s take a look at some different reasons you may be experiencing rain on funeral days. 

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A Good Omen

During the Victorian Era, people believed that rain at a funeral was a good omen. Rain was said to signify the deceased’s soul making its way to heaven. This belief is still around in some cultures and religions even today. 

So, people don’t usually avoid rain during funerals as it tends to be a good omen. 

Rain isn’t always a good thing, though. Some cultures believe that rain at a funeral is a bad omen, and a sunny day signifies a warm welcome into heaven for their loved ones. These cultures will go as far as to check the weather to ensure there’s no rain in the forecast, but it was more common to see rain at a funeral as a good thing. 

Hard To Change Plans

Funerals can be very difficult to reschedule, especially regarding inclement weather. 

Despite the amount of research that we put into predicting the weather forecast, it’s still quite imperfect. Studies like this one from IOPScience show that we’re still a long way from accurately and consistently predicting the weather. 

With unpredictable weather changes, it can be really difficult to plan a funeral around the rain. So, the weather is often the least of the worries of the grieving family. Once the day comes, changing the plans because of the weather will probably cost a lot of money. 

Not only do you need to consider where to store the body, but the grave will also have to be closed and reopened later. This can cost a great deal of money to get done. Also, everyone attending the funeral will need to be notified and change their plans for the day. This is especially difficult for loved ones traveling from out of town. 

So, it’s often not worth changing the funeral date last minute because of the weather. 

With so much money and travel invested, people often keep the funeral date no matter what the weather forecast looks like. Rain during a funeral may seem really common simply because it’s often not avoided. 

More Meaningful Memories

Sometimes we remember rain during funerals more often than the sun because it matches how we felt that day. 

There’s not much that’s memorable about a sunny, warm day when you have to bury a loved one. However, rain is often used in books and movies to represent sadness. So, it’s easy for us to associate rain with grief. 

Weather that seems to match our emotions tends to be more memorable. 

So, seeing the rain on a day that we are mourning a loved one may stand out more to us as a memorable experience than a typical sunny or cloudy day. It may seem like funerals are always happening on rainy days when you simply remember specific instances. 

Couple mourning a deceased loved one on cemetery in fall standing between the graves
ID 158757752 © Arne9001 | Dreamstime.com

Precipitation Rate

It may seem like there’s rain every time you attend a funeral simply because you could be in a place that gets a lot of rain. If you want to see where your state stands on the precipitation average, check out this website that has statistics for each state. 

Your location is a major factor in how often it rains, just like the time of year. When it comes to the US, spring is the rainiest season. Funerals happening during spring are a lot more likely to see rain, which means that sometimes you can boil down your experience of rain at a funeral to your location and what season you’re in. 

What Does Rain During a Funeral Mean?

Rain during a funeral means that the deceased’s spirit is going to heaven. However, rain during a funeral can mean that their spirit goes the other way. Meanwhile, thunder can be a good and bad omen for funerals, depending on when it happens. 

Many of the beliefs regarding rain and funerals came from the Victorian Era (1837-1901). 

During this period, many specific beliefs developed about the deceased and the weather. Not only that but there were a lot of funeral superstitions that developed during this time that some still follow today. 

Rain as a Good Omen

Dating back to the Victorian Era, it was common for rain at a funeral to be a good omen for the deceased. 

People during this time widely believed that rain on the day of a funeral signified the movement of the soul of the deceased to heaven, which means that they’d be accepted there and therefore at peace after death. 

Rain after a funeral was also thought to be a good omen. In the days following a funeral, the rain was said to help wash away the sorrow and grief after losing a loved one. During this time, the more rain during and after a funeral, the better the omen for the deceased. 

Rain As Rebirth

Hinduism strongly believes in rebirth and reincarnation, especially when it comes to rain, which, in their religion, signifies rebirth and renewal, but that’s not the only thing it means. In the Hindu religion, people believe that rain is how souls make their way back to the earth to complete the process of reincarnation. 

So when it comes to burying their loved ones, the Hindus believe that rain signifies their loved one is being reincarnated to rejoin the earth as their soul lives on. Rain being a good thing for funerals and deceased family members seems to be pretty common among different cultures.

An Open Grave

The belief of a good omen for funerals didn’t extend to open graves. Raining on an open grave during the Victorian Era signified that someone in your family would die within a year. Before burying the deceased, an open grave is dug for the coffin. 

So, this leaves a window of time for it to rain. 

Graves are normally dug for the deceased a full day before the burial, which leaves time for it to rain in the grave before the burial of the deceased. Because of this belief and protecting the integrity of the grave, open graves are dug, covered, then left until it’s time for the burial. 

Bad Omen

Some other cultures believe rain on the day of a funeral is a bad omen for the deceased. You’ll see this in some African American cultures, where it’s common not to bury their deceased on a rainy day. 

Just like people believed during the Victorian Era that rain was a sign that the deceased was making their way into heaven, some believe the exact opposite. Rather than rain being a good thing during a funeral, some African American cultures believe that sunlight is actually a light guiding the deceased into heaven. 

People with this belief supported it so strongly that they would plan funerals around the weather forecast. 

They chose whenever possible to bury their loved ones only during a sunny day, allowing them to use the sunlight to find their way to heaven. Though this was believed by certain parts of African American culture, this wasn’t as widely believed in most other cultures. 

Thunder and Funerals

A common companion to rain is thunder, and it also plays a significant role in funeral superstitions. Some cultures believe that hearing thunder after a funeral signifies that the deceased has completed their journey to heaven. 

However, this meaning changes completely when guests hear a clap of thunder during a funeral. If it happens during a funeral, it’s a sign that your deceased loved one isn’t on their way to heaven. So, thunder can be a good or a bad thing, depending on whether guests hear it during the service or after. 

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Can a Funeral Be Postponed?

A funeral can be postponed for a short period, but this is difficult to do for a long period as bodies are difficult and expensive to preserve. However, you can postpone the service, just without the deceased’s body. But if you’ve cremated your loved one, you can postpone it for as long as you like.

While it’s possible to postpone a funeral for a short time, you won’t be able to postpone it for long as the body of the deceased isn’t able to be preserved for a long period. 

Here are some ways to postpone a funeral and some alternatives to consider. 

Storing Dead Bodies

This is the most difficult part of postponing a funeral, as storing a dead body can be costly and quite inconvenient. Most people don’t have the required equipment to store a body themselves. But, a funeral home will normally offer to store the body for a specific amount of time until the funeral. 

However, if you need to postpone the service, a funeral home may begin to charge you to store the body. 

The charge is usually daily and costs around $100, depending on the location and availability. Unfortunately, this means that for most people, continued storage isn’t an option. Remember that freezing only slows the process of decomposition rather than stopping it. 

A Funeral Without a Body

Another option for needing to postpone a funeral is to hold a funeral service without the body of your loved one. Direct cremation and immediate burial services are available for those struggling to arrange a funeral service within a reasonable amount of time. 

Choosing this option will allow you to carefully plan a funeral without the rushed time limit. It’ll also ensure that your loved one is well taken care of while you take your time planning a time for your loved ones and yourself to mourn the loss. 

Some religions and cultures focus on being near the deceased during the time of mourning, but this isn’t always important or a priority. If you’d rather have plenty of time to organize a funeral service without the time constraint and price of preserving your loved one until that day, then consider having a funeral service in their memory after burial or cremation.

Waiting for a Burial

Burials aren’t always done immediately, especially in places that get very cold, as it can be difficult to dig a grave during this time. Some areas choose to store the deceased’s coffin until the ground begins to soften in the spring, then commence with a burial. 

This is especially common in the northern US because their winters are often cold and harsh, leaving dirt tough and often frozen. Rather than trying to fight through and still proceed with a burial, many funeral homes will store coffins in a crypt until weather permits a burial service. 

Once the ground begins to warm in the spring, families will gather to celebrate their loved ones. 

Despite the delay in the service, families still mourn and gather to show love to the deceased. So, this is another option for you to consider if the weather isn’t cooperating with a service or if there’s another reason to postpone the service.

Remember that if you choose this option, an open casket funeral won’t be possible because the body will start to decompose. So, if you choose to wait to bury your loved one, you’ll need to mourn them in a closed-casket service. 

Final Thoughts

Rain at a funeral is common for many reasons, though your own experience may be due to your location, the season, or how you remember that day. Thankfully, in most cultures, rain during a funeral remains a good omen that the deceased are making their way into heaven. 

Don’t be afraid of rain during a funeral, but rather, embrace it. 


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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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