The Changing Attitude To Death in Our Fast Changing World
All over the world and across centuries, people have come to accept death as part of human existence. Beliefs and practices concerning death differ across several cultures and over the years the world has experienced a radical change in the attitude towards death as well as changes in funeral practices.
Death is a sensitive topic and not many people would like to talk about it but, there are still scholars who have taken interest in the way human beings respond to death and the change in attitude towards death, funeral practices and grieving over the years. Indeed, we live in a rapidly changing world.
When people lose their loved ones; how they take care of their dead, how they mourn them and how they remember them are very important to them. Even though people would try to avoid talking about death, when it happens, we are forced to make plans to take care of our dead loved ones, we grieve and we try to keep something in memory of the people we have lost.
These days, cremation is chosen over burying. It is seen as a simple, stress-free and affordable funeral alternative. According to David Sloane, a USC Price School of Public Policy professor and a planner who comes from a long line of cemetery superintendents; If everyone can scatter their ashes or have them in their home, then you don’t need a cemetery. Statistics show that while in 1960, only 4% of Americans who died were cremated, sometime in the last year, the number of Americans being cremated surpassed the number of new burials. There are already predictions that by 2030, the cremation rate will hit 70%. There has also been a significant shift in funeral plans from cemeteries and funeral homes as families of the deceased are gaining more control over the funeral processes.
Personalization of funerals;
Funeral ceremonies are changing. People are beginning to explore available options. There is an increasing focus on beliefs, wishes, and personality of the person who has died rather than traditional or religious rituals. The choice of coffins, venues, flowers, music and even the nature of the ceremony is chosen by the family and friends. Sometimes, personalized symbolic rituals are created for the funeral as the family wishes.
Environmental influence ;
As many suburban communities are designed without cemeteries and cities are running out of space, many people are going for options considered ecologically friendly. This includes cremation and placed in natural burial grounds without embalming and pesticides.
The use of technology ;
Mourning is gradually becoming less private than in the past. Nowadays, unless we are intimately close with a person, we usually find out about their death on social media. Social media is now used to announce the details of the funeral ceremony, set up web pages to commemorate someone, lit a digital candle or make an online donation. During the funeral service, people from all over the world can be connected through live streaming options.
The way we do things continue to evolve and this is something a planner must bear in mind. The planner should be aware of these trends and be able to advise the families on the options as well as listen carefully to their needs and wishes so as to serve them better.