(Excerpt from coming book, Help! Someone Died!)
Evidence of the desire to reunite a decedent’s soul with their ancestors in the spirit world goes back to Neanderthal man. This ceremonial quest for immortality continued, for the most part, to be the norm up to and into our contemporary western funerals. *
Until the 1960’s.
The 1960’s Revolution
The 60’s brought revolutionary change to every facet of society as young people disrupted and deconstructed the socio/political process and pulled away from organized religion.
Today, our American culture continues to shift from the sacred to a secular end-of-life service, except for active Catholics, High Episcopalians, Muslims and members of the Orthodox faiths.
The ever-evolving end-of-life practices
- Obituaries: In the past a short obituary ran in the local newspaper giving the deceased’s name, date and cause of death, and time and place for the visitation and funeral service. Now, if an obituary is published in a local paper or online, the primary focus in on the deceased’s life. The cause of death is often omitted, and service details may or may not be listed.
- Visitation: In the past, one or two evenings were set aside prior to the funeral so friends could gather at the funeral home and view the deceased in an open casket. (The exception: Jewish tradition required burial within 24 hours of death.) Now visitations are less common because younger generations consider an open casket barbaric.