A change in the funeral culture – celebrate the life

A very interesting article was posted by the BBC a few weeks ago that showed another change in the funeral culture. The topic: celebrate the life of the deceased rather than mourn it.

A very good example on how the funeral culture is changing is a study of 30,000 funerals conducted by the Co-operative Funeralcare . The study showed that the Number One Funeral Song in the UK is “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” – by Monty Python’s Eric Idle. Also TV Theme songs are very frequently used. And Funeral Directors are happy to accommodate pretty much any individual music request.

The dress code is not as strict anymore due to the possibility of a “personalized Funeral”. For some funerals it is appropriate for men to wear a suit and tie, for the women to wear a black dress/skirt and covered shoulders. If the deceased or his family planned a personalized funeral though, it means that funeral visitors i.e. wear memorial T-Shirts or the deceased person’s favorite color. It wouldn’t be surprising if there are people that wish for funeral attendees to just not dress up at all and come in whatever clothing they feel comfortable in.

Thinking of the funeral of Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, James Brown – their funerals were broadcasted worldwide by the media and were talked about for a long time. This has evolved on a smaller scale for people whose families have scattered all over the world. The Irish, for example, have families in many countries of the world – especially in America, Australia, Canada and the UK. Thinking that a family member might not be able to afford the flight back home or there are other reasons for its absence there now is the possibility to webcast a funeral. This gives those that cannot attend the opportunity to still say goodbye. Some funeral homes already offer this service with more and more following this example.

And lastly – a special way to celebrate the life of a loved one is the possibility of a themed funeral. Some celebrities, like Joan Rivers or Lynda Bellingham, asked that their funerals are made into a party – to celebrate their life. And is that really so wrong? If the personality of the deceased was fun-loving, creative and full of love and joy – why make their passing-away into a sad memory rather than the fun and joy that its life was?

A British paper reported about the funeral of a woman in England. She is said to have had a Halloween-themed funeral lead by Darth Vader and Beetlejuice and the Tasmanian Devil also present. Themed Funerals don’t need to turn into a dress-up but can be as simple as including certain elements like motorcycles, horse carriages or certain color-influences.  In 2012 another British paper reported about “disco-themed ceremonies”,  “BBQ wakes” and other unconventional funerals – although this is said to have been part of an American TV Show, so some facts might have been blown up out of proportion.

Death is something that will happen to all of us. The question is – do we want our funeral to be a sad event and think about the death or do we want to celebrate the life we have had?

Funeral trends – personalised funerals

Nowadays a funeral can be so much more individualized – which is how funeral trends evolved. And I myself am surprised at what creative possibilities there are.

Now funerals are not like they used to be years ago. Now, the life of a person can be remembered in so many ways and there is a variety of offers out there.

Today we will focus on the funeral trends within the personalization of your funeral.

As per the NFDA the personalization of funerals is one of the biggest trends today. The funeral is an important part of the grieving process and should be planned with care and thought. If you do this planning beforehand you can save your loved ones a lot of stress and money.

What can be personalized?

The Answer is easy. Everything.

The Casket/The Urn:

There is a huge variety of possibilities to choose from simply looking at material and design. In case a casket is made for cremation only, there are companies that print them with your photographs or other pictures that mean a lot to you. You can get coffins and urns from discounters or spend thousands of Dollars for a mahogany casket. You can get biodegradable caskets and wicker caskets. Some funeral homes let you paint the urne or casket yourself – which is helps smaller children to say good bye to a parent or grandparent. For those of you, that want to be really individual you can have a casket built in whatever shape you like – i.e. in the shape of your favorite animal, car or a bottle of beer. A company in Ghana makes it possible.

The Burial:

One funeral trends is the forest or nature burial which is offered around the world and is very popular right now. Also scattering ashes in the ocean or into the air (which I like) are chosen more often. This company offers to scatter your ashes over the Grand Canyon National Park. You have the possibility to have a diamond or other jewel made from your ashes so your loved ones can keep you close by on a ring or a pendant. And one of the most unusual forms of burials is the Space Burial. For this burial you do need to spend a few dollars more and this form of burial is only possible in the US and in Russia. Interesting fact: One of the most famous dead personalities, that were launched into space: James Doohan – his remains were on two space ships in 2007 and 2012.

The Funeral Music:

There are no limits to funeral music anymore. You can pick a traditional „Pie Jesu“, but you can also choose „Highway to Hell“ by AC/DC. Often times the favorite song of the person will be played and the songs don’t have to be sad. Image for example „Good Vibrations“ from the Beach Boys or „Dancing Queen“ from Abba (which I could imagine for myself). Or you could have your favorite soundtrack like „Once upon a time in the West“. And here you have an option if you have a few dollars more to spend – your individually composed funeral music with  „Your Requiem“.

Others:

Furthermore you can off course decide which cloths you will wear on your funeral day. You can decide on decorations and on make-up. What will be said and who says it? You can have jewelry with your fingerprints and a bust with your face.  There are so many things you can do. Soon there will even be a company from Florida that records messages from you and presents them to your loved ones if form of a hologram. The possibilities are endless.

There is so much you can do and we do recommend that you plan ahead. This saves your loved ones a lot of stress and even money and you will be remembered the way you want it. Talk to a funeral director in your area.

Best,

Nicole

What is „Your Requiem“?

To make it short: „Your Requiem“ is your individually composed funeral song- a new trend in the death-care industry.

Nowadays you can plan your own funeral way ahead of time. In Norway, there was even a TV Show that showed local celebrities planning their own funerals to entertain its viewers (as reported by i.e. thelocal.no).  Also in the US and in Great Britain the trend goes towards planning ahead. This is to save time and costs for the bereaved. But planning ahead also means, that you have controll about how your funeral ceremony will look like. In the US you even have professional Remembrance Planners.

Let’s have a look at funeral songs: In the past gentleman like Mozart, Brahms and Haydn composed requiems for the funeral masses of wealthy citizens. Very often a church choir was involved. One of the most popular requiems is Mozart’s Mozart’s „Requiem im D Minor“. Nowadays you can find many lists of popular funeral songs online, which even The Telegraph is listing. What is never missing on these lists of top funeral songs is the classic „Ave Maria“ by Schubert. Very popular are also Bette Midler’s „Wind beneath my wings“, Frank Sinatra „My Way“ or even AC/DC’s „Highway to Hell“. There is no end to the possibilities of choosing suitable funeral songs. But… which of the numerous great songs and classical pieces should you pick?

We have got the solution – you choose your own requiem. What the music should sound like, how extensive you wish your requiem to be, is up to you alone. Here you can find out how it works. Tell us your story, we create a memory.