Rise of the New Age Funeral
September 1, 2016
People are always dying. And the living always mourns the dead. The latest form of memorial service for the deceased is the New Age funeral.
Most people see the traditional funeral as a fitting and respectful send-off for their loved ones. However, many now opt for a more modern approach.
The modern idea is to celebrate, and not to mourn, and to personalise the send-off to show off the important things in the life of the deceased.
New Age Funeral – A New Way of Thinking
Here’s how people’s views of funerals have changed:
- The children of elderly parents do not want to be burdened with a traditional funeral, as usually such a funeral involves extensive planning.
- Funerals are expensive now. And, unless one has a pre-paid funeral plan in place, a formal memorial service is unaffordable.
- Traditional funerals with their dark clothes, sombre music, and long faces, can be very depressing.
- Many older people live and die alone. These people have no relatives living close by, so there is no-one able to take a week off from busy schedules to plan and organise a funeral.
- Older people often make their arrangements for their funeral while they are still alive. And at that stage, they want anything that won’t inconvenience anyone. The simpler, the better.
- Some people have no desire for religion in their lives. In fact, in some countries, up to 80% of the population do not ever go to a place of worship, so they prefer to do away with the traditional religious or spiritual funeral.
Some Aspects of a New Age Funeral
- A modern idea from America is a process that uses heat, pressure and chemicals to liquefy the body in a few hours. The tissue dissolves, becomes sterile, and ends up in the municipal waste-water system. Then the bones are pulverised and given to the family.
- Cryonics: Over 200 people dead people have been frozen, waiting for medical science to find a way to revive them.
- In Tokyo there is a 5-storey building where each floor has a collection of ‘worship booths’. On using your access card, you enter the booth which contains a digital display screen. On entering the name of the deceased, a door opens and a granite grave can be seen. These booths are affiliated with a temple. Cremation is the fate of 99.81% of the Japanese population, so this idea is becoming increasingly popular in a culture where the majority of the people are Buddhists.
- Although this seems to belong to science fiction, quite a few people are opting for having the ashes catapulted into space by rocket.
New Age Funeral – More Ideas
- In a balloon funeral, the family releases the ashes in a helium balloon.
- Green funerals are increasingly popular. Importantly, the coffins are biodegradable, and the burial is as natural as possible.
- Web-casting means you do not even have to attend a funeral in your black tie and tight shoes anymore. Consequently, you can live-stream the funeral on your laptop from anywhere around the world.
- Pick ‘n Mix funerals. This funeral combines religious and secular aspects. Although people want to celebrate the life of the deceased, they find it is easier to come to terms with their grief when they include the familiar rituals of the traditional funeral.
- Many people are opting for funerals that have two requisites only: music like hip-hop, jazz, rock ‘n roll, etc., and humour. So the good cheer must prevail over mourning at all costs.
- Funeral homes are now being called celebration studios.
Perhaps the bottom line is that funerals changed when the role of religion changed in peoples lives. So the focus started moving away from grief and religion and moving towards the celebration of a life, which is the essence of a New Age funeral.
In doing so, are people not disconnecting from reality? Aren’t they denying death and the hereafter? Only time will tell.
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All info was correct at time of publishing