To many, the thought of a funeral is a sobering one. The collective mourning of a friend or loved one is bound to surface all manner of emotions, from sorrow and sadness to nostalgia and sentimentality. Yet despite this turbulence, we recognise funerals, in any form, as an important part of the grieving process.
Of course, funerals are not a modern creation. In fact, the ceremonies as we know them today remain true to their roots; they are an opportunity to place faith in tradition, share the burden of loss, and support one another. So, where do funerals come from?
Here at Stockman & Loram, we’ve compiled a brief guide to the origins of funerals in the western world. Read on to discover more.
Earliest Known Burials
It may come as a surprise to discover that burials have taken place since the days of our Neanderthal ancestors, perhaps even earlier. Burial remains dating back as far as 27,000 years have been uncovered around the world and across many continents.
Although these burials do not constitute ‘funerals’ per se, they do provide us with a clearer understanding of the human desire to ritualise and mark death.
Funerals As We Know Them
The kind of funerals that we, in the west, are familiar with derive from the Ancient Greeks, who took great care to prepare, cremate and bury the remains of their deceased relatives. A number of elaborate burial rituals would take place before interment.
The word ‘funeral’, however, actually derives from the Latin word ‘Funus’, used by the Romans to denote matters surrounding death. As Roman Catholicism became prevalent across Europe, burials became more popular, alongside remembrance gatherings, masses and wakes.
Today, ancient traditions may still be observed in much of our modern culture; both burials and cremations exist as integral aspects of our western ceremonies across many faiths and religions. That said, many choose to merge tradition with modernity and modern funerals take different forms. From celebrations of life to traditional services, green burials to cremations, the important thing is holding a funeral that honours the life of the deceased and feels personal to the family and loved ones who have gathered.
Stockman & Loram
No matter your funeral requirements, we’re here to ensure that individuals are given the send-off they deserve. There is no right or wrong way to mourn and we endeavour to tailor our services to your requirements.
Please, contact us today to discuss your funeral arrangement needs.