During chapter four, Jonas is giving a bath to an elderly woman named Larissa. At one point during their conversation, she tells Jonas that they celebrated the release of an old person earlier that day. Jonas asks her what the celebratory ceremony is like. In a lot of ways it is similar to a funeral, except that the person is still alive . . . and will be killed a little bit later.
Larissa tells Jonas that every release ceremony has a "telling." Somebody gets up and narrates important parts of the person's life that is about to be released. Other people are allowed to get up and speak as well about things they remember about that person. The person being released is allowed to speak as well. That's basically a goodbye speech.
"Well there was the telling of his life … is always first. Then the toast. We all raised our glasses and cheered. We chanted the anthem. He made a lovely good-bye speech. And several of us made little speeches wishing him well."
After all of the speeches are made, the person is taken away to another room in order to be released. Only members of the release committee are allowed to see and know what happens next. That's why everybody assumes being released is happy and wonderful instead of murder.