From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
In funeral services, a viewing (sometimes referred to as Calling Hours, Reviewal, Funeral Visitation or a Wake in the United States and Canada) is the time that the family and friends come to see the deceased after they have been prepared by a funeral home. It is generally recommended that any body to be viewed be embalmed in order to create the best possible presentation of the deceased. A viewing may take place at the funeral parlor, in a family home or at a church or chapel prior to the actual funeral service. Some cultures, such as the Māori of New Zealand, often take the body to the Marae or tribal community hall.
Viewing is sometimes combined with a celebration of the decedent's life called a wake although in some places the term wake is interchangeable with viewing. Many authorities consider the viewing important to the grieving process as it gives a chance to say goodbye on a personal level. It also can make it easier to accept the reality of the death, which can often seem unreal especially in the industrial world where death is handled by professionals and the family may only know of a death through phone calls rather than experiencing it as it occurs.