Die another day:
Paying for own funeral catching up:
The funeral is rich in history and is a way to express grief and
provide support and encouragement to the mourners.
But where did the idea of funerals come from and what is some of the
history behind these funerals around the world? We know that funerals
are an ancient tradition because researchers have found burial sites of
Neanderthal man which date back to 60,000 BC. The most ancient funeral
monuments were simple, made from a mound of earth, or a heap of stones
covering the body of the deceased.
History of Funerals
4000 BC- Embalming was started by the Egyptians3400 BC- Egypt becomes
known for its mummy culture 1,000 BC- Cinerary urns made from clay have
been used since ancient times as vessels for ashes and bodily remains
353 BC- The first Mausoleum was built for the Carian ruler Mausolus230
BC- The Hokenoyama tomb in Japan is the oldest known burial chamber100 -
The Romans in the 1st century used columbariums - this was the name use
for a structure containing many funerary urns
1830- Chinese burying their dead in the sides of mountains1882- First
meeting on the US National Funeral Directors Association1884- Cremation
became legal in England1930- Funeral pyres in the open became illegal in
the UK with the Cremation Act of 19301993- The first 'green' cemetery is
opened in the U.K.2014- Customised urns for cremation made with 3D
Until the 20th century, funerals in most countries were organised by
family and held at home and family members were traditionally buried at
home. Funeral homes were later established and many of the early
undertakers were furniture makers, extending their services to the
making of coffins. Embalming became necessary in order to ship bodies
One of the most famous monuments in India and the world is the Taj
Mahal, a mausoleum built by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan for his wife.
Customs and rituals have changed around the world the way people bury
their dead. Today the emphasis is on saving the planet and the move
towards green funerals. It seems we are coming full circle back to the
most ancient funeral monuments made from earth and stones. Whatever way
funerals go, one thing every body wants to believe in is that there is
an afterlife that promises to be far better than the one we're living
here on earth.
The Guardian recently reported that the cost of funerals has
increased dramatically leaving many families to struggle with end of
life costs ("Too poor to die"). Around the world, these costs have been
rising substantially over the past ten years and most people are
increasingly choosing cremation to curb burial costs. In Sri Lanka, it
has always been a popular option.
In fact, your funeral is the fourth most expensive thing you will
ever pay for after buying a house, having children and getting married.
Have you given any thought to how you'll pay for yours?
Yes, there are plenty of ways you can bring down the cost of your
final send-off. For a start, consider being cremated rather than buried:
it typically costs less.
Dean Lamble, managing director at SunLife, a funeral service provider
in the UK says: "Our research shows that just 1% of us really know what
our loved ones' wishes are for their funeral send-off - in fact, almost
a third of people are organising funerals without even knowing whether
their loved one wanted a burial or cremation.
You can also consider donating your body to medical science. If your
body is accepted, the medical school will arrange and pay for a basic
funeral when it has finished with it. The only cost you (your relatives,
really) may incur is transporting your body to the medical school.
Another option that is proving increasingly popular is to pay for
your own funeral before you die. Sales of pre-paid funeral plans hit a
new record last year worldwide. "Funeral plans are becoming embedded in
the public consciousness," says Ronnie Wayte, the chief executive of
funeral plan provider Golden Charter in the UK. "Families appreciate the
reduction in associated stress where a loved one has pre-planned and
pre-paid for their own funeral."