Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 12 June 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

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 printers


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 back home.

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."


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