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Putting the “fun” in funeral

Putting the “fun” in funeral

A new trend in funerals is to make them more fun: magicians, death cafés, chocolate caskets, and much more are obtained for non-traditional events upon the death of a loved one. Huffington Post reports:

The wide range of what’s considered “creative” or “unusual” when burying a loved one means there are little to no statistics on such practices, but industry experts say redesigning the standard funeral is increasingly popular. For the 2.5 million Americans who die each year, families are “making funeral decisions based on different values than previous generations,” said Jessica Koth, a spokeswoman for the National Funeral Directors Association.

funeral.jpgCremations are now used in 43 percent of deaths, and environmentally friendly “green funerals” are becoming more common. From customizing the casket to offering surprising music, costumes, themes and performances at the service, families are “seeking experiences that are different than those they perceive as part of a ‘traditional’ funeral,” said Koth.

Cultural, religious and political upheaval in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s led to more diverse views about death, noted Gary Laderman, a professor of religious studies at Emory University and author of Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America. And, as those in the baby boomer generation age, that has led to more recent changes in how people imagine their funerals.

Read more here.

And I thought I was alone in wanting people to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for a recessional.

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Gary Paul Gilbert

It is up to the individual and their families and friends as to what kind of funeral they will plan. The more time people spend planning funerals the less they spend--unlike weddings. Clergy and funeral directors (although they are required in nine states) are now optional with the rise of home funerals. Environmental concerns may make people spend less and cremation makes it easier for families to decide when to hold a service. But the deathcare industry may still find ways to shame people into spending more than they can afford. Caveat emptor.

Gary Paul Gilbert, President Funeral Consumers Alliance of L.I./NYC

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Gary Paul Gilbert

It is up to the individual and their families and friends as to what kind of funeral they will plan. The more time people spend planning funerals the less they spend--unlike weddings. Clergy and funeral directors (although they are required in nine states) are now optional with the rise of home funerals. Environmental concerns may make people spend less and cremation makes it easier for families to decide when to hold a service. But the deathcare industry may still find ways to shame people into spending more than they can afford. Caveat emptor.

Gary Paul Gilbert, President Funeral Consumers Alliance of L.I./NYC

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Michael Hartney

Re: Singing Take me out to the ballgame

A few years ago at the funeral of The Reverend Tom Hanson at Saint Paul's Rochester, New York, that is exactly what we did. And then Bishop Jack McKelvey donned a Rochester Redwings Minor League cap instead of his miter.

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Kurt

Truly creepy.

Kurt Hill

Brooklyn, NY

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rick allen

"At Forest Lawn the bodies lie in state, sometimes on sofas, sometimes in open coffins, in apartments furnished like those of a luxurious hotel, and named ‘Slumber Rooms.’ Here the bereaved see them for the last time, fresh from the final beauty parlour, looking rather smaller than in life and much more dandified. There is a hint of the bassinette about these coffins, with their linings of quilted and padded satin and their frilled silk pillows. There is more than a hint, indeed, throughout Forest Lawn that death is a form of infancy, a Wordsworthian return to innocence. ‘I am the Spirit of Forest Lawn,’ wrote K. C. Beaton, in less than Wordsworthian phrase : ‘I speak in the language of the Duck Baby, happy childhood at play.’ We are very far here from the traditional conception of an adult soul naked at the judgment seat and a body turning to corruption. There is usually a marble skeleton lurking somewhere among the marble draperies and quartered escutcheons of the tombs of the high renaissance; often you find, gruesomely portrayed, the corpse half decayed with marble worms writhing in the marble adipocere. These macabre achievements were done with a simple moral purpose - to remind a highly civilized people that beauty was skin deep and pomp was mortal. In those realistic times Hell waited for the wicked and a long purgation for all but the saints, but Heaven, if at last attained, was a place of perfect knowledge."

Evelyn Waugh, "Half in Love with Easeful Death"

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