In Europe and especially France, many experts predicted that 10 years from now 50% of the funeral will be cremations. Why have we changed our funeral practices so much in the last thirty years? What makes it different from the standard method of burial?
The story of a slow revolution
In 1963, Vatican Council II officially authorized Catholics to choose to be cremated as a last resort. Even if it remains difficult today for a priest to celebrate a ceremony in front of the funeral urn, this decision immediately favored the possible adhesion of a greater number of French families to this funeral practice. Up to this date, the desire to be cremated showed freedom, even opposition, concerning religious practices.
At the same time, the 1970s also marked a profound questioning of our society and the beginning of a decline in religious commitment. With the breakdown of the family unit and an increasingly urban way of life, where cemeteries were rejected on the outskirts, funeral practices have in a way been lightened and freed from contingencies, community or society, in the past. Cremation, a veritable “funeral liberation” is one of the many signs of the evolution of manners which now leaves more room for individual preferences.
The practical reasons
Among supporters of cremation, the desire to free their families from burial and burial obligations is often associated with economic reasons. It is true that incineration followed by a simple dispersion of the ashes, when the distance to the crematorium does not require a long transport of the body, can prove to be less expensive than a burial. The Living Urn is one of the best in this niche
Philosophical or ecological bias
Those who plan to be cremated sometimes do so out of philosophical choice. They then evoke the ultimate sublimation of the body by fire, seen as a spiritual liberation. Even more (30% of opinion polls) are concerned about the footprint left on the planet. In this case, it is as much about “leaving the earth to the living” as it is to mix again, quickly and harmoniously, with the elements that make up our universe.
More contemporary rituals
Today, funeral directors are finding that the funeral is more intimate and more focused on the personality of the missing person. Families often move towards simplicity, in the choice of coffins and ornaments for example, and get involved in the homage to the deceased, during the ceremony, through choices of texts, original music or even videos.
Cremation, because it is not recommended by the three main religions in France, separates itself from the creation of a new type of ceremonies. The funeral rooms which are being built almost everywhere in France, near the crematoriums, perfectly welcome these new rituals. With the advice of the funeral directors, the ceremonies that take place there, very personalized, accord with dignity and modernity to the diversity of religious or philosophical opinions of the audience.