Lights, Camera, Mortician! The Rise of 'Fun Funerals'

“Sometimes I’m asked to do both [magic and funerals] at once,” said Lee, 76, a licensed funeral director from White Plains, New York. “People have come to know both sides of me, so they ask. And I say, why not?”

Lee, who long ago claimed the moniker “mortgician” in his AOL email address, wouldn’t call himself a pioneer or part of any special movement in after-death care. But he’s among many who are turning the idea of the solemn, sedate funeral on its head.

Call it the rise of the personalized “fun funeral.”

The wide range of what’s considered “creative” or “unusual” when burying a loved one means there are little to no statistics on such practices, but industry experts say redesigning the standard funeral is increasingly popular.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Humor / Trivia, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

2 comments on “Lights, Camera, Mortician! The Rise of 'Fun Funerals'

  1. Terry Tee says:

    A priest I know had a request for the funeral of a teen to be a ‘joyful’ affair, with those attending dressing in bright, colourful, even outrageous clothes, etc. A resolutely upbeat tone to the proceedings. It was said that the departed teen ‘wouldn’t have wanted us to be sad’. But surely people’s hearts were breaking? And wouldn’t mourning, tears, acknowledgement of desolation at the funeral make it easier to carry the grief in the bleak months and year ahead? Yet for a priest to say this risks angering and alienating people at a most vulnerable time in their lives. What to do?

  2. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #1 It must be difficult Fr Tee – I suspect many such funeral requests come from those unused to the rituals of death or unwilling to face the reality.

    For the Christian though, I am in two minds. As a more protestant minded Christian I am clear that the funeral is for the living rather than the dead, a rite of passage, so that things can be done in order and mourners move on, knowing they have done what can be done and have left nothing undone. Should we celebrate the passing into glory of those we love with fun and dancing? Perhaps the most extreme tradition which awoke this realisation in me was the mock New Orleans funeral procession in ‘Live and Let Die’ which I gather really happens – more carnival than funeral.

    I like the modern tendency to celebrate the life with gratitude rather than mourn the death but am unsure whether the requests for fun funerals just represents an unwillingness to accept reality in our culture which has airbrushed death out of the picture. I am not sure we are much different and this was brought home to me when I found out yesterday that the lady I prayed for and with the previous Sunday had died during the week.

    For you though, it is difficult, but whatever you decide, I am sure you use it as an opportunity for evangelisation of those mourners thinking about deeper things maybe for the first time.