Funeral directors have a unique view on our communities and many insights to share. I take my black homburg hat off to these Detroit area funeral directors for coming together to protest the violence that leads to the death of so many young people. If we wish to have their services and profession respected, we could take a lesson from Detroit. If you are the expert on death in your community, get involved and share that expertise.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Lily Kong, a geographer at the National University of Singapore, describes how commemorative practices in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China have changed in response to shrinking amounts of physical space for the dead. These shifts — from earthly graves to cremation, and now to scattered ashes and even online memorials — mark a graduation from "spatial competition to spatial compression and then to spatial transcendence," -The Challenges of Burying The Dead in Urban Asia, The Atlantic Cities, Eric Jaffe
What is evident from existing studies is that death practices and deathscapes have evolved over time in a number of Asian cities. ... As a consequence, sacred space and sacred time have been reconceptualised and rituals have been (re)invented to suit conditions of modernity while addressing abiding belief systems. -Urban Studies, Lily Kong
This change in rituals, moving from the physical to the virtual through the use of memorial websites vividly demonstrates both the need for ritual and the ways that traditions adapt to new circumstances. Visit Atlantic Cities for Mr. Jaffee's full piece, and if you have access to Sage Journals, please take a look at Ms. Kong's Article.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
In a previous post I mentioned some of the exciting events on hand at Death: Southbank Centre's Festival for the Living which runs from January 27th through the 29th at the Southbank Centre in London. As the festival approaches, I've heard that some of the most important voices involved in the transformation of contemporary funerals will be sharing their thoughts and work at the festival as well.
Jane Harris (center left), mother of Joshua, and her son Joe (far right), will join Charles and show a trailer of Remembering Josh, a very important film that deals with the loss of her son, and the moving memorial service the family created mark his passing. The film is also the subject of a recent Daily Undertaker interview.
This event, 'Everything you wanted to know about funerals (but were afraid to ask)' will be held from 3-4pm at the Front Room of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre in London on Saturday, January 28th,
Thursday, January 19, 2012
For the third year in a row, the “Poe Toaster” -- who regularly marked the birth of Edgar Allan Poe with a tribute of three roses and cognac -- failed to make the nocturnal trip to the writer’s original grave in Baltimore, thus apparently ending a tradition that lasted more than half a century.
Rev. Marvin Pasley, funeral director at Pasley’s Mortuary west of the Ashley, shows off a classic 1959 Cadillac hearse acquired five years ago and recently restored. The mortuary has employed the rare hearse in a few burials.
Visit the Post and Courier for the full story and more photos
Saturday, January 14, 2012
"Pot with Skulls," a vase by artist Juan Jorge Wilmot Mason is shown at the Dallas Museum of Art. The piece was among 500 objects by 175 living artists featured in "Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art". -ArtDailyNews
Friday, January 13, 2012
"The Ultimate Equalizer, The Grim Reaper, The Blessed Release. One thing is certain - we all have death in common and this January we defy taboos and take a look at this unknowable certainty from many angles."
Through a multitude of performances, workshops, installations, and talking with everyone from philosophers to funeral workers, This festival examines our attitudes towards death and why we are so reticent to talk about it. The festival runs from January 27th through the 29th at the Southbank Centre in London.
Here are just a few of the many events and exhibitions featured in the festival:
'Boxed: Fabulous Coffins from UK and Ghana' collects bizarre bespoke coffins from the famous Paa Joe workshop in Ghana, and Crazy Coffins in Nottingham.
Before I die....What's the one thing you'll do before you die? This free event allows attendees to share their new year's resolutions, pledges and life-long dreams and on a giant chalkboard as part of an ongoing international participatory project by artist Candy Chang.
An Instinct for Kindness: In November 2010, Chris Larner accompanied his chronically ill ex-wife to Switzerland's Dignitas clinic. He came home with an empty wheelchair and a story to tell. This moving, bittersweet show reflects on the circumstances, morality and humanity surrounding the journey. In a candid, poignant and sometimes comic performance, Chris explores both the profound personal implications and the wider ethical considerations of the contentious issue of assisted dying.
From Blue to Joy- The New Orleans Funeral: Drawing influence from New Orleans funeral parades, the Mexican Day of the Dead and other rituals, over 100 young people from Kids Company process across the site with a specially decorated coffin, accompanied by Abram Wilson and band, culminating at The Clore Ballroom at 5pm with a speech and a party.
The National Death Centre Salon: The Natural Death Centre run salons on subjects as diverse as funeral pyres and funeral choices in the 21st century, to the advantages of green burial. The charity was founded 20 years ago to inform and empower the public in all death related issues, a taboo area steeped in myth and misconception.
For more information about this very interesting festival, visit the Southbank Centre site
|Erin Phelps of Omega Cremation & Burial Service in Portland looks over boxes of remains of unclaimed bodies|
Funeral providers say a lack of state oversight and possible misuse contributed to a nearly 30 percent spike in the number of Oregonians cremated last year through the Indigent Burial Fund.
The state offset the cremation costs for a record 358 people, about 1 percent of the estimated 31,000 people who died in Oregon in 2011. The fund paid for 278 cremations in 2010.
The weak economy did contribute to the increased demand on the fund, said Tim Lancaster, president of the Oregon Funeral Directors Association. But a bigger factor is families who refuse to pay for dispositions because they believe the state will pay the bill.
Read the full story at The Oregonian
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
"According to Wanga customs, kings are buried while seated, wrapped in animal skin with a stool, the symbol power, placed on their head. Wambani’s burial will be done in the modern way but still uphold the tradition.The coffin that will be used to bury the king has been built like a chair to comply with the tradition."
for the full story, visit The Daily Nation
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
"We Cannot lay her in the dark earth"
said the dwarfs and so they had a transparent glass coffin made
so that she could be seen from every side
Laid her in it and wrote on it her name and that she was a king's daughter
Then they carried the coffin into the wood and some of them always watched her
And the birds also came and bewailed Snowdrop
First and owl then a raven and lastly a dove
So Snowdrop lay a long long time in her coffin
looking as thought she were asleep
- Patrick McNally
- Funeral service faces a crisis of relevance, and I am passionate about keeping the best traditions of service alive while adapting to the changing needs of families. Feel free to contact me with questions, or to share your thoughts on funeral service, ritual, and memorialization. email@example.com
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