Every funeral should be a reflection of a unique life. Therefore, no two funerals are alike. Though traditional services, rich with cultural and religious customs, are still very much preferred by some, there’s a trend toward less strict, more relaxed celebrations and memorials that incorporate options that weren’t available in the past.
Like everything else, funerals, memorials and celebrations of life change with the times. What’s more, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated some trends and promoted innovation in some areas, making 2020 an interesting year.
Here are the top funeral trends for 2021.
Charm bracelets have seen much popularity in recent years, and that desire for a wearable reminder of something or someone special has crossed over into cremation jewellery. More and more families are choosing sterling silver and 14-karat gold bracelet and necklace charms that hold a bit of a loved one’s ashes. Among the most popular selections are necklaces with rose gold hearts, infinity designs and feather pendants. And for those who don’t want to keep the ashes with them, thumbprint necklaces let them feel the touch of their loved one’s actual thumbprint any time.
Online planning and purchasing
According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, which collects data on 18 product categories, online sales across the board were up 55% year over year for the first seven months of 2020. Ecommerce was already a growing market sector, and the pandemic gave it a huge boost. Consumers now expect to purchase almost anything with only a few clicks, and that demand has extended to funeral products and services. However, because so few people understand the elements of funeral and burial planning, consumers can find themselves unexpectedly inconvenienced when they try to DIY. In the case of funeral planning, it’s better to enlist the expertise of a professional who can clearly explain your options and guide you through purchasing decisions that many find confusing, even over the phone during a remote consultation.
Actively participating in a loved one’s cremation, funeral or burial
In recent years, more and more families have expressed a desire to be involved in a loved one’s funeral beyond just planning and attending. Some are assisting a funeral director with washing and dressing their loved one’s body. Others are requesting to witness the cremation or even push the button that begins the process—an established tradition in some religions, including Hinduism. A graveside tradition allowed the family to place or sprinkle soil over a casket, but now certain cemeteries may allow family members to take part in digging a grave by hand. These acts allow spouses, children, grandchildren and siblings to be much more intimately involved in the final stages of their loved ones’ lives. They are priceless opportunities that create unforgettable memories.
Pre-planning to ease the burden of loved ones
Planning ahead is more important than ever, and discussing death has become more commonplace. Plus, as cultural preferences move away from tradition and more toward individualism, the younger population wants more control over their funerals, memorials and celebrations. In fact, Vox recently called the millennials the “death positive generation,” and they do seem to be more willing to research and plan in advance for the ends of their lives. They may also be encouraging their parents to do the same.
Perhaps that’s because they not only save money but also keeps surviving family members from making hard decisions in a stressful time. It’s likely also because they realise that when you plan ahead, you get to design exactly the service you want—right down to the last detail.
Because of our experience with Mum and Dad, my wife and I have chosen Gardenia Funerals for our own arrangements, which was easily accomplished, and are confident that when the time comes Gardenia Funerals will follow through on every detail and support our loved ones in our absence.
Celebrations of Remembrance
A Celebration of Remembrance is a funeral or memorial service that takes place weeks or months after it normally would, and it’s become an important option for families whose loved ones have passed during the era of COVID-19 when large gatherings are prohibited and social distancing rules may prevent the kind of service that a family wants. By pushing a celebration to a future date, a family gains extra time to plan every detail (and every safety measure) of an extraordinary event to honour a person’s memory—complete with family and friends, cherished traditions and rituals, and more.
Another trend pushed to the forefront by COVID-19, webcasting and Facebook Live allow friends and family members to attend services when they’re unable to be there in person due to travel restrictions, limits on gatherings or personal health concerns. Even as restrictions lifted, some were still uneasy about being indoors in groups. Fortunately, technology now allows friends and family from around the country and the world to be present at a celebration for a loved one. This trend has provided comfort to many, and it’s expected to become a standard offering of funeral homes even after the pandemic has passed.
Personalised funerals with attention to detail
Each person is a complex, multifaceted individual, and each funeral or celebration of life should honour the details that made him or her unique in the world. Themed events are great, but events rich in nuance are second to none. It’s no small effort to that friends and family will remember as deeply reflecting a special life, but by asking good questions and carefully listening to your stories, we create memories that last forever. To Gardenia Funerals professionals, the details aren’t the little things. They’re everything.