What is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral?

Last Updated: 8th July 2022

The decision of having a traditional or modern funeral does not need create limitations to the choice made.  Whilst people wonder what is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral either options can be personalised to suit the needs of the deceased person or their family or next of kin.

When considering what is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral it might be worth noting that a traditional funeral service often follows a certain structure, however, in modern times there may be an amalgamation of both types of traditional and modern funeral services.

What is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral might be demonstrated through the traditional customs and common rituals that take place when following a more traditional funeral service.  There are certain aspects of a traditional funeral that are recognised as being so.

Visitation might be offered if following a traditional funeral service and this can be considered when asking what is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral.  Whilst visitation services do not always take place, even when following the more traditional funeral service plan, it allows family members and close friends of the deceased person to visit them before they are laid to rest to pay their final respects in a private setting, should this be detailed in their final wishes or that of their next of kin or close family members that are organising their funeral.

The next event that takes place when following a traditional funeral service is the funeral service itself.  This often involves many people attending a more traditionally set out service to honour the life of the deceased person and share in prayers and songs or hymns that the deceased person or their family or next of kin chose.

What is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral might be determined when taking the committal into consideration.  Usually, once the deceased person’s funeral service has taken place, the committal service takes place which most usually forms a burial of the deceased person at a graveside.  The committal services if often restricted to the deceased person’s close family members and allows the deceased person’s loved ones to say their final goodbye before the actual burial takes place.

The more modern funeral might follow a different process and may not follow the traditional, more structured funeral service.  It is likely to be less defined and structured as to what happens after a modern funeral.

Location is something that defines what is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral because the location of a modern funeral service is not restricted to anywhere specific. 

Whilst a more traditional funeral is likely to take place in a more recognised venue, such as a church, or a funeral home, a modern funeral may take place in a park, woodland, beach, or even someone’s home.  A unique location allows for an individual to choose where they wish to be buried or laid to rest.

When answering the question of what is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral it might be the rituals of a modern funeral that differ from a more traditional funeral.  The rituals that are carried out in a contemporary and more modern funeral might involve things that are not included in the more traditional funeral service.  This might include more tailor made rituals that honour the deceased person and might be less common than what is experienced at other funerals, whether or not it is a traditional funeral or a modern funeral.  This is because it is specifically personalised to the deceased person as an individual.

There might be physical objects present at a modern funeral service that are not present at a more traditional funeral service which can also highlight what is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral. 

As well as having the more commonplace objects such as flowers in situ at a modern funeral (that would be expected at a traditional funeral service as well), there may be photos of the deceased person and even memorabilia or objects that the deceased person was associated with that brings a more personalised touch to the funeral service.

What is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral can be defined by these objects and memorabilia as this more personalised and tailored approach within the organisation of a modern funeral service can take more planning within the planning stages. 

The main thing to acknowledge and recognise when thinking about what is the difference between a traditional and modern funeral is that a more traditional funeral follows a structure and an order (where the order of service is derived). 

Whilst there is flexibility in how a traditional funeral is delivered, according to the final wishes of the deceased person, their next of kin of close family members, it often follows a traditional route and ways in which to do things.

A modern funeral is only limited by the deceased person’s imagination (or their next of kin or close family members if they have not pre-planned their funeral).  A modern funeral can be whatever is wanted, informal, non-religious and with no boundaries (provided the legalities that surround death are followed).

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