September 21, 2023

Old Vs. New Funeral Traditions

Funerals are as old as humankind. Thousands of years ago, ancient cultures practiced elaborate rituals as they buried their dead. Neanderthal graves included gifts for the deceased. Often, piles of stones or heaps of dirt marked these burial sites, allowing others to discover them as a place of rest for the deceased.

But as time passed, conventional funeral traditions continued to evolve. This ongoing process changes how people say a final goodbye to a loved one.

Funeral Attire

Traditionally, people recognize a funeral procession by individuals dressed in black. It is generally accepted that black is the color that symbolizes grief and mourning.

However, it is becoming common for funeral attire to be anything but black. Mourners often wear lighter colors like pastel or white and even the favorite colors of the deceased. This funeral trend is a beautiful way to honor the life of the person who passed.

Funeral Services

Funeral services typically happen in churches, temples, cathedrals, and other religious venues. A pastor or priest preaches during the ceremony while a family member delivers the eulogy.

Modern funerals take place in settings like parks and beaches. While it may still seem uncommon to hold funerals in these locations, doing so is a perfect way to celebrate the deceased’s life.

As for eulogies, they have evolved into heartwarming anecdotes and memories. When mourners share touching stories about the deceased, it helps to paint a vivid picture of them, comforting those left behind.

Memorial Technology

Funeral programs and guest books once helped mourners leave messages for the deceased. With new technology available today, families can livestream funerals over Facebook or other channels, allowing mourners to leave comments on the page. Doing this allows friends and far-off family to share memories and create a virtual support group.

The same goes for memorial media. In the past, the deceased’s photograph would be displayed on a large board or placed in the funeral program. Nowadays, funerals involve memorial videos consisting of photos, video clips, and music. These elements create a moving tribute that captures various timelines of the person’s life.

Funeral Music

Have you ever passed a church during a funeral service? If so, you probably notice somber hymns emanating from the structure. Funerals usually involve religious songs like these to complement the somber mood of the occasion.

But nowadays, it is quite common to hear pop, hip-hop, or rock music blasting through the church’s speakers during a funeral. This is because the family may have chosen to play the deceased’s favorite music. It may also be the last playlist they listened to. Either way, music helps lift the sadness and allows mourners to remember the deceased joyfully.

Burials and Cremation

Burials were the norm until not too long ago. And while cemeteries still serve as a final resting place, cremations have become increasingly popular.

Cemeteries inevitably fill up at some point, and the maintenance and upkeep of the grounds are not always guaranteed. Cremations offer a respectful ceremony at a lower cost. Funerals can be expensive, so a cremation service is an alternative for a family who cannot afford all the expenses. Cremation also has a smaller impact on the environment.

Moreover, families can keep the ashes in an urn or use it to plant a memorial tree in memory of their loved ones. Memorial trees and green burials have become highly popular as a way to leave a positive environmental legacy behind.

End-of-Life Planning

Discussing or planning for death was taboo until a few decades ago. Today, people make their preferences and wishes clear by making thorough and specific plans for their funerals. Pre-planning helps people overcome their fear of death by focusing on their final farewell instead.

The Bottom Line

The evolution of funeral traditions through the years reflects changing attitudes toward death and commemoration. For more information, contact Wyuka Cemetery at (402) 474-3600.


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