Millennials and the generations that succeed them have been referred to as the “death positive” generations, and for a good reason. Current generations face the end of a life well-lived as an event to be celebrated, frequently giving funerals the same type of attention to detail and planning as they do weddings.
A funeral is a reflection of a remarkable life, and it should be as unique as the incredible individual being honored. Cultural customs, religious beliefs, and specific requests can all be honored while taking advantage of new technologies and funeral trends.
Together, we’ll talk about the top ten funeral trends that help you honor your loved ones, celebrate their lives, and tell their stories. We’ll also cover how you can create a lasting memory that tells a story from your loved one’s ashes.
1. Green Burials
Even though cremation has bypassed burial as the most predominant form of death care, many cultures have customs that favor burial. There’s no incorrect way to lay our remarkable loved ones to rest, and each option has its benefits.
Because traditional burial methods involve chemical embalming fluids, non-biodegradable metal caskets, and the displacement of earth, many people are opting for a more sustainable form of earthen burial.
The Green Burial Council oversees the establishment of green burial practices and encourages the use of environmentally-friendly death care trends. Having a green burial helps you to honor and respect tradition while simultaneously honoring and respecting the earth.
Numerous options, like forgoing embalming and selecting a natural casket, are more environmentally friendly than traditional burial options. For cremations, having ashes placed in a memorial reef that creates an underwater ecosystem is a similarly eco-friendly option. It’s even possible to have ashes planted with the root ball of a young tree.
2. Active Funeral Participation
For some friends and families, active participation in a loved one’s funeral is more than a trend—it’s tradition. In Hinduism, for instance, the surviving family members accompany their loved one’s remains to the crematorium, and one family member is selected to press a button that begins the cremation process.
Active participation is a long-held tradition, but new innovations allow families to be more involved than ever. Some funeral homes allow family members to dress and prepare their loved ones for viewing or burial. Another option is a deeper level of graveside participation, with family members taking turns digging the grave or covering the casket.
It’s also possible for loved ones and family members to take more participation in the funeral service, rather than the end-of-life services. By conducting the memorial themselves, sharing stories, delivering eulogies, and singing songs, family members have a larger hand in the service. These are all opportunities to help celebrate your remarkable loved one’s life and continue along your healing journey.
3. Pre-Planned Funerals
The desire to pre-plan your own final rites is becoming more and more common. Whether this involves a pre-payment for final expenses is completely up to the individual. Plans can be made years in advance with a funeral planner or director, allowing the individual to plan every minute detail of their post-life services.
One thoughtful benefit of pre-planning is that it takes away any responsibility for final arrangements from surviving family members, allowing them more space to grieve and experience their emotions.
Pre-planning needn’t feel difficult, either. The sooner you consider your final plans, the better you’ll be able to make them without swirling emotions. Many funeral planners make the experience memorable and even enjoyable, offering an upbeat attitude and plenty of guidance.
4. Celebrations of Life
Contrary to what some may believe, a celebration of life is not a funeral, taking place weeks or even months after a funeral or burial has occurred. A celebration of life is a gathering of family members and friends to commemorate their incredible loved one’s life, share stories, and live in the warmth their legacy leaves behind.
Celebrations of life don’t have to be formal or involved. Pictures, mementos, and people who loved the deceased are all that are necessary to create a meaningful event. Consider hosting a celebration of life in your own home, or at a favorite restaurant or location of your loved one.
5. Water Cremation
An alternative to traditional cremation, water cremation uses a liquid solution to facilitate decomposition, mirroring how it would decompose over time in the earth. This cremation option is considered more eco-friendly and can be preferable for some families.
Cremation — both traditional and water-based — saves the Earth from four million gallons of embalming fluid being created each year. The end result with a water cremation is the same, as the family will have their loved one's ashes returned to them for the memorial of their choosing.
6. Home Funerals
Keeping your loved one close and having more control over their death care gives many families a deeper sense of connection and closure. Home funerals are legal in all fifty states. However, in some states, a funeral director or other official may be required to oversee some of the arrangements.
Home funerals allow you to prepare your loved ones for burial in your home, caring for them in a special space. If you elect to have a home funeral, you’ll be responsible for many of the duties normally taken care of by a funeral director, like filing your loved one’s death certificate, preparing their body, keeping them preserved, and facilitating their final resting place.
That said, home funerals offer loved ones a special way to channel powerful emotions experienced after a loved one’s passing. Taking charge under these circumstances often gives family members a sense of control, in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.
7. Funeral Parties and Themed Funerals
Each of us knows at least one person who would turn their nose up at the prospect of a somber funeral event. For these celebratory individuals, a funeral party or themed funeral is in order. Funeral parties are exactly what they sound like: a party to celebrate the loved one. More than a celebration of life, these parties often have a live band and open bar.
Likewise, themed funerals offer the unique opportunity to celebrate a loved one’s particular niche. Special interests, favorite movies, or sports can serve as the springboard for a creative funeral that involves costumes, characters, and non-traditional locations. A loved one that loved to golf could have their service on their favorite hole at their favorite course, for example.
8. Digital Enhancements
Technology has allowed us to create funerals and services that are truly one of a kind. While memory boards once served as a way to remind us of special times, digital photos projected onto large screens give us the ability to reminisce on a grander scale.
New technology offers guests the ability to enter special messages, upload pictures, share memories, and offer condolences through the use of online memorials. Depending on the type of service you have, it’s also possible to have guests record video messages that surviving family and friends can view at a later time.
Another innovative trend is the interactive headstone. For loved ones who choose earthen burial, a scan code on the headstone can take visitors to a website dedicated to preserving their loved one’s memory, with information about their lives, stories, and pictures.
Visitors to their gravesite also have the opportunity to sign a digital guestbook and leave condolences and memories for the family. This opportunity is also available in mausoleums.
Lastly, virtual gatherings have been popularized by necessity during recent years, but they will remain an option provided by most funeral homes. Virtual gatherings offer family members and loved ones to participate in the service no matter where they are and no matter their ability to travel. This level of inclusivity makes honoring the life of a loved one accessible to many more people.
9. Creative Cremations
The rise in cremation rates has begun a trend that answers a logical question of what to do with our loved one’s ashes. While keeping their ashes in a decorative urn is a time-honored tradition, many choose to transform their loved one’s ashes into a portable memorial.
Many family members often feel that keeping their loved one’s ashes in an urn or spreading them in a particular location doesn’t help them feel closer to their loved ones. Instead, they look for ways to share their loved one’s legacy and story.
Ashes can be turned into commemorative stones, formed into keepsakes, and even rocketed into space. These creative ways of caring for your loved one’s ashes help the surviving family find healing and create memories that will last.
10. Remembrance Jewelry
Another long-standing tradition, remembrance jewelry continues to grow in popularity. Through the use of modern technology and expert craftsmanship, ashes can be transformed into wearable portable memorials.
However, the type of jewelry you select is important. Some materials and stones aren’t as long-lasting as others. Options like cremation diamonds are extremely durable and can be passed down for generations to come.
What Is a Cremation Diamond?
A cremation diamond is a genuine, certified diamond created from the carbon in your loved one’s ashes. At Eterneva, we listen to the stories of your loved one and embark with you on a transformative healing journey through the transformation of your loved one’s ashes into a stunning diamond.
How It’s Done
The process of transforming ashes into diamonds takes about ten to twelveeight to eleven months. Once you’ve discussed the journey with an Eterna representative and shared your loved one’s remarkable story, we’ll collect a small portion of your loved one’s ashes.
- From these ashes, we carefully extract carbon. Carbon is present in all human remains, and it can be carefully separated and purified to form the basis of your loved one’s diamond. This process takes about two months. When the carbon has been separated, we’ll return the remaining ashes to you.
- Next, pressure and heat are used inside a machine to simulate the conditions needed to form a diamond in the earth’s mantle. This process takes time, usually about three months. This process varies because our bodies vary, and everyone’s own chemistry will make the journey their ashes take to becoming a diamond unique.
- Once the diamond is created, its quality is assessed, imperfections and inclusions are addressed, and the diamond is thoroughly inspected so the exact diamond that has been ordered will be exactly what is delivered.
- The diamond is then cut to the specifications you’ve requested. The raw diamond is cut by expert cutters to display its full brilliance and luster.
- Lastly, finishing touches, like coloration, setting, and engraving are added, ensuring that your diamond is as unique as your loved one.
Through every stage of the transformation process, you’ll receive continual updates, videos of progress, and information about what’s happening on the journey. When complete, you’ll receive your custom diamond in a keepsake, engraved box.
Your journey, your memories, and your loved one’s impact will be forever memorialized in a beautiful diamond that shines as bright as the life they lived.
The Best Trend Is Whichever You Want Most
Creative minds never fail to supply us with endless options for innovation, including ways to remember our remarkable loved ones. When it’s time to celebrate the end of a beautiful life, there are numerous options from which to choose.
Cremation diamonds offer you the ability to create an heirloom from your loved one’s ashes that you can keep close to your heart. No matter where you go, the spirit of your loved ones will follow, and their legacy will live on through the conversations sparked and memories shared around their beautiful stone.