New Trends in Funeral Celebrations

Today’s funeral celebration is more likely to involve a party – with costumes – than a funeral home as we change the way we celebrate the people who have passed. Cremation and green funerals are on the rise, and that’s just the beginning.


Rethinking Funerals

Dr. David Sloane: I always kept my eye on what was happening in the areas of mourning and memorialization and in 2007 my wife passed away and I was confronted with the choices that all survivors have to make, and that sort of propelled me to begin to rethink about what was going on.

By the middle of twentieth-century almost everybody dies either in a hospital or nursing home and then they’re transported to a funeral home and then to a cemetery.

The traditions that we have held, they're not going away. They are being disrupted. People are choosing to interact with these conventions but they want it to be personal.

The changes that occurred in the 20th century led to three significant disruptive trends.

One of the reasons that cremation feel so accessible to us is that we control it. We can scatter, we can build an altar to it, but what people began to do was think about how can we use these remains in a way that we actually have them as part of our life.

Everything from making jewelry out of them to creating vinyl records. It’s almost an endless stream of ideas.

Cremation is related to the second big disruption, and that is the rise and growth of green burial.

You do as little to the body as possible. No embalming, no hard wood, no concrete, and then you just bury it in the ground.

The third trend is returning to the public to mourn, so they do it through social media or through the virtual cemetery.

So there are actually tens of thousands of people who have put up a memorial space in a virtual cemetery all across the world, and whether you go to social media or you go to the virtual site, you are immediately interacting with your friends and you can begin to mourn.

There are a growing number of people who want to be free from the traditions.

What's exciting about this is they want things to be more personable, and we have begun to break down those barriers.