Funerals vs. celebrations of life

The recent passing of my Oma has encouraged me to contemplate the concept of both funerals and celebrations of life. Although I have never attended a celebration of life, I know many people who have, and by the sounds of it, they’re a lot more meaningful than funerals.

Don’t get me wrong; funerals are important. They have been around for thousands of years. According to Wikipedia, they’re as historic as human culture itself, pre-dating Homo sapiens to over 300,000 years ago. Research sites across Europe and in Iraq have lead to archeologists uncovering Neanderthal skeletons layered in flower pollen, an indication that the concept of funerals has been around since the beginning of time.

It can be difficult to challenge and furthermore change tradition. But I truly believe celebrations of life are a better way to mourn the passing of someone as opposed to a funeral.

Think about it. Funerals are very sad affairs. They involve a lot of crying, nose-blowing and black. Death is definitely a sad affair, but why does death have to solely focus on mourning? Why can’t death be used as a means to commemorate someone’s life by celebrating that itself?

A celebration of life aims to achieve exactly what it suggests in its name; celebrate someone’s life after they’ve gone. They still incorporate mourning, but more of an emphasis is placed upon positive remembrance rather than grieving. They’re often held at locations that had meaning to the deceased, for example, at a park or a restaurant that the person enjoyed, and focus on the life that was lived by someone. The deceased’s greatest qualities, achievement and impacts are what are emphasized, rather than strictly their death.

Death is a gloomy subject, but if approached from a different perspective, it can represent far more than just a loss. It can be used as a means to appreciate and justify the life left behind by someone long after they’re gone.

Photo credit: <a href=””>SomeDriftwood</a&gt; on <a href=””>Visual hunt</a> / <a href=””&gt; CC BY-NC</a>


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