Like every other tradition, funerals continue to change and evolve based on the social, economic, and religious trends in society. There are some customs that are becoming more popular, while others are becoming increasingly obsolete.
Cremation Is Climbing
Another reason why burial is on the decline is that the definition of the family has been altered. In the first half of the twentieth century, the extended family generally shared a graveyard for generations. People did not move much, and their history was tied to their community. This is simply not the case anymore--families are often scattered across the country in the search for employment. Cremation allows remains to become mobile. It's a lot easier to visit a grave that you can carry with you when you move.
Formal Funeral Is Fading
The austere, sombre funeral is being replaced by respectful celebrations that help to bring joy to the surviving family. Many feel like this style of funeral shows more respect to the dead because there has been enough sadness already. It is not uncommon for modern funerals to include:
Some families may decide not to have the casket present at the funeral, and may skip the traditional viewing altogether.
Black Is Not For Mourning
Movies show those attending a burial dress in their most somber clothing. Black has been the color of mourning in Christian funerals for a few centuries. However, it is now common to see people attend funerals in colorful, even casual clothing. Sometimes, this is done to honor the wishes of the deceased person; they have have specified in writing that cheerful colors were to be worn. However, the families may also decide that the sea of black is simply too depressing, and choose a more lighthearted way to celebrate the life of the dead.
As the attitudes of the American people have changed, so have their funerals. More focus is being placed on celebration of a life, instead of grief and mourning. Even though death represents a great change for everyone involved, burial and formal ceremonies may become less and less common as the new culture evolves.
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