What is the most common type of funeral?

Last Updated: 27th June 2022

With more types of funerals to choose from, it is interesting to know what is the most common type of funeral.

Considering the increasing number of different types of funerals from direct cremation, or unattended cremation, to attended cremation; or humanist funeral to a full traditional funeral service and many other types of funerals in between, it is easy to see the challenges that might be faced by anyone considering how they wish to make their final arrangements.

With so much choice, it is important for any person wishing to plan for their funeral before their death to make sure that the type of funeral they choose suits them and aligns well with their final wishes.

If a person does not wish to opt for a full or traditional funeral service, it is unlikely that a graveside service will be an option they will require to choose either. 

A viewing service or a visitation service if often quite a personal choice and, again, may be something a person wishes to choose to omit within their final arrangements when planning a funeral.

A wake is often arranged so that family and friends of the deceased person can get together in a more social and less formal setting to remember their loved one. 

Together with a wake, a celebration of life service or a memorial service can also be chosen after the deceased person has been laid to rest and this can (or might not) allow a period of time to pass after the death of a person for those they have left behind to come together to celebrate them and their life.

It might be easier for the loved ones of a deceased person they leave behind if the funeral plans have been arranged prior to their death.  With all the choices that present themselves at an emotional and challenging time, what is the most common type of funeral might be adopted but not necessarily wished for by the deceased person if they have not put plans in place prior to their death.

It has been documented that what is the most common type of funeral in most cultures is the full service or traditional funeral. 

A traditional or full service funeral often takes place within days of a person’s death and often takes place in a church or in a funeral home and allows the deceased person’s family, friends and loved ones to get together and pay their respects at a more formal funeral ceremony.

The deceased person can be placed in either a closed or open coffin and is present at the traditional funeral ceremony, laid on a catafalque at the front of the venue.

Due to the more religious nature when considering what is the most common type of funeral, being the traditional or full service funeral, there will be religious tone and element, with readings and blessings and prayers delivered by the priest or pastor that is delivering the full service funeral or traditional funeral service, whilst the friends and family of the deceased person might choose to also contribute to the service by carrying out biblical readings, poems or eulogies that are chosen and deemed appropriate in honour of the deceased person.

It might be that people looking at what is the most common type of funeral prefers a full service or traditional funeral because of religious or traditional beliefs and values that they have grown up with and continue to follow. 

The full service funeral or traditional funeral can conclude, with the congregation made up of mourners for the deceased person, to move on to the place at which the deceased person will be laid to rest, being either the graveyard or crematorium in order to finalise the traditional or full service funeral for the committal, also known as the graveside service.   This allows those mourning the deceased (and often the closest family members being in attendance) paying their last respects.

When asked ‘What is the most common type of funeral?’ it is worth noting that this might largely depend upon who is being asked the question. 

Different answers are likely, depending on the age of the person the question is asked of, together with their religious faith and beliefs, their traditional and cultural values, the location in which they live, their financial standing and so on.

Together with such examples, there are many more factors that should be considered when asking what is the most common type of funeral of anybody.

When considering what is the most common type of funeral further, it might be interesting to acknowledge that this may be influenced by demographics.

Whilst the rest of the western world may differ (that would require researching more fully and independently to this), by viewing the UK’s demographics and the ageing population, is it logical to believe that what is the most common type of funeral might be a traditional or full service funeral due to the traditional and cultural beliefs of the older generation that make up the majority of those dying in the UK.

Will the answer to the question of what is the most common type of funeral begin to change as the ageing population decreases and the younger generations hold different beliefs, of both religious and traditional values, with the type of funeral changing in years to come?

As there are more options on what type of funeral someone can have, it might alter what is the most common type of funeral, as we know it today.

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