The way that we grieve is different from culture to culture and person to person. Losing a loved one is something that one cannot prepare for, and in many cases do not expect when it happens. Needless to say, it is a difficult experience, and preparing a funeral or memorial service can be overwhelming to say the least. As society changes over time, so too do the ways in which we choose to express our grief and engage with the memory of those we have lost. This process of change is one that is exemplary in the changing landscape of funeral trends. From how a funeral is organized to body disposition, there are a number of new and interesting funeral trends that are becoming available. Here are the Top 10 New Funeral Trends that are worth investigating!
1. Water Cremation
Cremation typically refers to the process of breaking down the body of the deceased through the use of flames. However, there is a process called Water Cremation, or Bio Cremation, that is growing in popularity. In lieu of flames, Bio Cremation technology uses a combination of water and an alkali solution of potassium hydroxide to break the body down. The body is placed into a pressurized metal chamber which is then filled with the water solution, and the temperature is raised to 350 degrees. It is the combination of the heat, gentle pressure, and the water solution that slowly breaks the body down. Learn more.
2. At Home Funerals
In Western culture, it is considered the norm that all aspects of death care and memorial practices are orchestrated and conducted by professionals. However, there is a growing shift to encouraging death care and funerals to be conducted by the family of the deceased at their home. A prime of example of this would be the Death Midwifery movement, which advocates at home death care, as well as memorial practices in which the family takes greater control of the organization of the memorial services of the deceased. The mission of this movement is to encourage individuals to more fully engage with the loss they are experiencing through direct interaction with the care of their deceased friend or family member.
3. Interactive Headstones
Have you ever walked past a gravestone or memorial and wondered about the life of the person it is meant to represent? Part of what we do at Qeepr is provide a means of accessing that information through the use of QR codes. These codes can be put on a headstone or memorial, and from there can be scanned with your smart phone. You will then be brought to the memorial page associated with that code, telling you about the lives of those laid to rest there! We are currently also developing a mobile app that uses Geotagging, allowing you to locate different memorial sites from your smartphone.
4. Crowdfunded Funerals
Funerals can be incredibly expensive affairs. But, of course, they are also necessary. However, as they are also oftentimes unexpected, the expenses can be too much for the family to handle. As a result of this, it is becoming increasingly common to seek help through crowdfunding efforts. Families are more frequently turning to their friends for financial help, or creating accounts on third party funeral crowdfunding websites to pay for the funerary services.
5. Memorial Reefs
Death in many ways brings us all closer to nature and the circle of life in which we all exist. The new trend of memorial reefs is based off of that principle: that we are all connected to the Earth. Companies such as Living Reef Memorial have been established to provide a burial option that caters to those who feel deeply connected to marine life. This burial option entails the purchase of an artificial receptacle for the deceased's cremated remains, which is then taken out to sea and installed on the ocean's floor. The memorial structure is then left to become part of the sea's habit, becoming home to flora and fauna of the ocean.
Another new and interesting manner of caring for cremated remains is one coined by the company, Mesoloft. With their team of aerospace engineers, Mesoloft offers a completely unique commemorative service during which the cremated remains of a loved one can be launched into the sky. When the urn reaches the appropriate altitude, it is opened and the remains scatter in the sky. There is no way to tell exactly how long the ashes remain in the Earth's atmosphere, but they disperse and are carried wherever the wind may take them!
7. Green Funerals
Being environmentally conscious is something that is increasingly prioritized in all aspects of our society. From encouraging green lifestyle choices such as composting and recycling, to using biodegradable cleaning products, taking care of Mother Earth is something we all should be considerate of. This is very much the case in funeral practices as well. Indeed, eco-friendly burial trends are becoming more and more popular. In particular, methods of body disposition are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious. An example of this would be LifeArt caskets, which are personalized caskets that are constructed of 97% recycled wood fibres.
8. Participatory Funerals
An alternative to an at home funeral that similarly encourages the family's engagement with the deceased is know as a Participatory Funeral. These kinds of funerals are very similar to a home funeral, but are still conducted within a funeral home. The recently established company, Undertaking L.A., is an excellent example of this new initiative. Providing a professional funeral service environment, Undertaking L.A. encourages a return to the practice of family and friends caring for the body of the deceased as much or as little as they feel comfortable. This may include such things as preparing the body for burial, but still within the care of a funeral home environment.
9. Themed Funerals
Funerals are meant to signify the life of the person who has passed away. This includes discussions about that individual's personality and interests. One funeral trend that is becoming increasingly popular is the organization of a funeral service or memorial around a theme that represents something that the deceased loved to do or enjoyed. This could mean anything from the decorative scheme featuring a favourite colour or pattern, to something more elaborate, such as a basing the celebration off of the deceased's favourite film.
10. Webcasting Funerals
When someone passes away, the funeral and memorial services are very important aspects of the grieving process. They bring a sense of closure through communal grieving that is difficult to find elsewhere. It is unfortunate when someone passes away, and one is unable to make it to the funeral because of geographical distance. As such, it is becoming increasingly popular to webcast funeral services. In this way, those who are unable to travel to the location of the funeral are still able to participate in the service from a distance.