The traditional funeral could become a thing of the past in Australia, according to the results of a recent survey by a consortium of more than 130 Australian charities.
This latest survey follows the Co-op Funeralcare survey early last year, which highlighted a shift in the UK’s approach to the funeral service. The Way We Say Goodbye demonstrated that today’s funerals are more focused on celebrating a person’s life, as opposed to mourning their departure.
In Australia, nearly half (45 per cent) of all respondents to the survey by Include A Charity said they would prefer tradition to be changed and a thanksgiving service be held for their life before they pass away.
When asked about more traditional funerals, 44 per cent preferred to be remembered at an informal gathering organised by family and friends but without a coffin, and 71 per cent said they would prefer family and friends to wear bright colours rather than black.
Seventy-seven per cent said they would rather their death be relayed via word of mouth, than a newspaper death notice (28 per cent) or Facebook or Twitter (17 per cent).
Include A Charity’s Ross Anderson said: “Funeral etiquette appears to be changing, with Australians moving towards preferring more casual and informal send-offs than traditional funeral services.”
Mr Anderson continued: ‘It’s perhaps not so surprising that the majority of people now favour bright colours over the traditional black attire worn to funerals, but we didn’t expect nearly half those surveyed to want to participate in their own thanksgiving service while they are still alive. We know Australians love having a chat with mates, but joining your family and friends in celebrating your life takes this concept to a whole new level.”
The survey, entitled Your Final Wishes, was designed to gauge public perceptions about the traditionally taboo subjects of death and funerals. Other results included 42 per cent of respondents wanting to plan their own funeral, with six per cent already having done so; 98 per cent saying that laughter at a funeral is an appropriate way to fondly remember someone; 70 per cent thinking it is okay for children to attend funerals; and 22 per cent saying they would like to write their own obituary.