Funerals aren't what they used to be

As people live longer, funerals are becoming more of a celebration than an outpouring of grief.
As people live longer, funerals are becoming more of a celebration than an outpouring of grief.

Funerals aren't what they used to be.

As the Australian Funeral Directors Association hold their National Convention this weekend a survey of their members has revealed some dead interesting trends.

People are living longer and that apparently means funerals are losing that intense sense of sadness.

"Funerals are far more likely to be celebratory with more Australians preferring a funeral with a relaxed and reflective tone than one that is solemn and serious which is preferred by just one per cent," said Mark McCrindle of Sydney-based McCrindle research which conducted the study.

Six in 10 funerals are now conducted by a civil celebrant according to the study of 104 funeral directors nationwide and an online survey of 514 people over 50.

"It used to be that for the big milestones of weddings and funerals, even if people weren't regular churchgoers, they would go to church but we are seeing that change," he said."

There is also a change in the type of music played during the service.

Sentimental music was the most popular category with I'll Be Seeing You, Time to Say Goodbye, and You'll Never Walk Alone said to be popular.

Religious hymns have dropped to second favourite and third was the defiant song; My Way was the most mentioned but ACDC's Highway to Hell was a notable, Mr McCrindle said.

"It just says to me that people are prepared to be a bit out of the box with funerals."

Fourth category was quirky songs including Most People I know by Billy Thorpe, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life and even Pharrel Williams Happy

A trend away from burials continues with 66 per cent saying they intended cremation, 14 per cent not caring and 20 per cent planning to be buried.

An "any other comments" box showed increased frequency of the dearly departed pre-recording a video to thank everyone for attending the funeral.

More are having a QR code at the graveside so a smartphone can be swiped which then plays a video celebrating the individual's life and more people are choosing to be buried with an electronic device to hand.

This story Funerals aren't what they used to be first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.