In Mexico they celebrate their lost loved ones with a colouful spectacle known as the Day Of The Dead, over here we tend to be a bit more reserved.
Friday October 30 marked Create a Great Funeral Day so we asked Beverley Brown of Funeral Services Northern Ireland for some advice on creating a great funeral, something that, for the fortunate ones among us, can be planned well in advance. Here’s her 15 tips…
1. Only one person is the focus of attention; the deceased. This alone is sufficient reason for each funeral to be, like that individual, unique in both concept and creation.
2. We should not be afraid plan our funerals in advance – it’s is one way of lifting the burden from the shoulders of our relatives and friends.
3. In today’s multi-cultural and increasingly secular society, new trends are constantly being added to our established customs. This is to be welcomed, for it is in this way that these traditions are allowed to develop.
4. Personalised floral tributes range from specific words such as Mum or Dad to the more unusual where flowers are sculpted to represent a cricket bat, a car, a pint or a pigeon and even a mobile phone!
5. Over half of all funerals carried out now involve some kind of charitable giving, the choice being significant to the deceased or their family.
6. Traditional means of communicating the death and funeral arrangements are moving from the more traditional obituaries to internet communication’s and social media – family can even host their own webpage for remembering the deceased.
7. The internet is also bringing a new dimension to funeral ceremonies, where proceedings are broadcast live or recorded for family and friends unable to attend.
8. Black is still most commonly worn but specific requests not to wear black are becoming more common, some funerals may even stipulate bright clothing for mourners.
9. Personalised coffins in different shapes, colours and environmentally friendly materials are starting to appear more frequently and people may wish to place mementos inside.
10. As society becomes more aware of environmental issues there has been an increase in the number of people wanting to arrange funerals which have a low impact on the environment.
11. The funeral vehicle chosen may reflect the life of the deceased with requests received for tractors, fire engines, lorries, milk floats and motorbikes!
12. When it comes to speeches, the eulogy continues to thrive with input from family, friends and work colleagues.
13. Often the music played is chosen by the family or specified by the deceased to be played at their funeral.
14. There is a growth in new graveside rituals such as live music and the release of balloons or doves.
15. Alongside keeping ashes in an urn, people are also choosing to enclose ashes in jewellery, to keep ashes inside a keepsake urn or to create a remembrance plot in their own garden.