New-Look Funerals: What’s Changing and What Remains

Even before recorded history, there is evidence of rituals and customs surrounding death and sacred spots where people placed their dead. All cultures have ways to honor their dead and mark the passing of a life, and many of these traditions go back for many generations. Today, though, modern funerals are changing.  

  • Personalized funerals are becoming popular. More and more, there’s an emphasis on making a funeral unique. When personal touches are added to the service, it becomes a celebration of the life that was lived and a reflection of the loved one’s personality.  
  • Cremation has surpassed burial. In 2016, for the first time, more people in the United States chose cremation instead of burial. Experts believe there are many reasons for this shift. Our population is generally more mobile and less traditional. Cremation also offers greater flexibility in memorialization than traditional burial.  

Of course, no matter how much things change, some things stay the same. By gathering to mark the passage between life and death, people are able to find closure, pay their respects to the person who has died, and start to heal.   

No matter your culture, background or faith, there are a few things that are universally true: 

  • People want to honor the life that was lived. A funeral or memorial service gives an outlet for grief and a time and space to reflect on that person’s life and gain closure.  
  • Gathering to mourn and remember is an important part of the healing process. A sense of community helps us heal as we tell stories, share memories and connect with each other.  
  • Memorialization gives people a focal point for their grief and helps them move on with life. Whether it’s an urn, a gravesite, keepsake jewelry or a piece of cremation art, people want something to look to when they want to feel close to their loved one. 

Chapel of the Chimes Hayward has served families in the East Bay area since 1872, and as this diverse community has grown and changed, we’ve gained experience that helps us plan meaningful end-of-life services. To learn about all we have to offer, call 510.400.4442.  

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