Sadly, almost every Australian knows all too well the feelings that come with a funeral, but you may ask, what exactly does a funeral mean? Where did the concept come from? And as an additional thought, why do we need to call it a funeral?
We know from common knowledge, that a funeral is a ceremony or service held shortly after someone passes away and usually includes a burial or a cremation.
However, what is not universally known is that the word funeral comes from the Latin word FUNUS. This word has a variety of meanings but, in the main, refers to the ‘person and the funerary rites’ themselves.
Western funerals, like many things, originate from Ancient Greece and are reported to be somewhere between 3,000 and 1,100 B.C. where, taking care of a loved one and interment (grave or tomb) was, and still remains, a preferred method in most western specific cultures.
Throughout modern society today there is a whole range of ceremonies that are carried out to achieve the same end-of-life objective. In recent times, cremation is becoming more common for a whole host of reasons one of which being a more cost-effective option for families.
When looking back on our lives, we can see there are 3 major moments that demand the attention of our wider family and friends. A birth, marriage and sadly when someone passes.
All of these events require a level of thought and often, detailed arrangements. Whether they are a happy or sad occasion, each moment is an ‘event’ that commands exact planning.
Which brings us back to the name ‘funeral’. Whilst this is a sad moment for family and friends, funerals are often a celebration of a loved ones life with no amount of detailed planning spared by the Funeral Director and family alike.
In essence, the historic word ‘funeral’ could in modern terms be reclassified as a “farewell event” with a focus more on a celebration of life rather as a sad event.
Funerals in fact draw many similarities in their planning as to what we do for wedding celebrations by way of their comparison when it comes to the amount of effort and planning.
For a funeral, the sad part of the ‘event’ is when the rites are shared with family and friends, which can be compared with then the vows are read out ay the Bride & Groom at a wedding.
So, when thinking back about the original question of ‘what is a funeral?’ Maybe we should consider the title as a “Farewell Event” (or occasion) to suit our specific needs?
With ‘event’ being a focus of the funeral itself.