Having a loved one pass from one world onto the next is an opportunity to honor, remember, and celebrate a life well-lived. We know how difficult it is to say farewell to beloved friends and family who have gone ahead of us. During these times of grief, we often ask ourselves how to best give thanks and respect to our departed loved ones.
Traditionally, a funeral is a great way to memorialize their lives; however, many people are opting for a more personal method — a ceremony known as a celebration of life.
If you’re looking for a memorable way to say goodbye, let us share with you the difference between a funeral and a celebration of life. We can help you celebrate and commemorate the special memories your dearly departed given you.
What Is a Celebration of Life?
A celebration of life is best described as the unique and personal commemoration of a departed loved one, often focusing on remembering a soul happily. It combines the formality of a funeral with informal celebrations among close friends and family.
These events have less structure compared to a funeral. Friends and family share good stories, memorable anecdotes, and can even indulge in singing and dancing if they like.
When holding a celebration of life, the keyword is “joy.” The atmosphere is light. The service is filled with laughter and smiles. Essentially, the family or close friends of the deceased get to choose how a celebration of life is done. It’s often anchored on the departed one’s interests and hobbies as long as it is celebrated respectfully. This is why these celebrations are more casual and can be held almost anywhere.
With more recent celebrations, families often avail of a service that turns their passed loved ones into stunning pieces of art after a cremation. As you can imagine, this is a tremendously vivid and healing way to celebrate a life well-lived.
These art pieces range from colorful memorial urns for cremation ashes, little keepsake urns that can be given to multiple members of the family, pendants, and ashes jewelry. If a beloved pet has passed away, there are options for a pet memorial ranging from cat urns to ashes to glass services.
What Is a Funeral?
A funeral service is a commemorative service that’s more focused on customs and beliefs, often anchored on the deceased’s religion. The body is usually placed in a casket or an urn if cremation has already taken place. These services are usually more solemn and silent. They remember the deceased through various holy rituals and a structured program flow.
Described as a rite of passage for the death of a loved one, a funeral is believed to be a necessary activity for the soul to pass onto the afterlife. This method of acceptance usually gives mourners time to accept that their loved one has passed on from earthly life. The community gathers and offers flowers, beautiful eulogies, and beautiful holy hymns combined with a committal service to bury the body or to cremate the remains.
For Catholics, an open or closed casket is presented during the visitation portion. This is followed by a mass to bless the deceased. Eulogies are then said by those closest to the deceased in an effort to remember their lives.
A great example of a traditional funeral is Islamic funeral rites, often held at a mosque for the recitation of the Salat al-Janazah. During the prayer, visitors have to face Mecca. The body, usually in a perpendicular position toward Mecca, is held in a right-sided position so that it faces Mecca as well.
How Is a Celebration of Life Different From a Funeral?
The two are equally beautiful ways to remember a loved one. These methods of commemoration are based on preferences and beliefs so both are equally important and valued.
- Method of Viewing
The main difference between the two is the celebration of life does not have the body on display. Instead, various happy photos are displayed throughout the venue. In funerals however, the casket or urn itself is on display.
- Positive Lively Atmosphere vs Focus On Religious Rituals
A celebration of life also focuses on the positive memories the deceased has left behind. Love, care, and fun are at the forefront of activities, with lively music, and beautiful storytelling about the life of the departed. It’s acceptance in the form of enjoyment, saluting them for their time with you on Earth, a promise that all is taken care of! A toast or speech is typically done in these events in the presence of those close to the deceased.
While beautiful in their own right, traditional funerals have more structure and provide a solemn farewell. Acceptance and honoring the departed is done by singing beautiful songs and personal eulogies made by those closest to them.
- Venue: Holy Places of Worship vs Anywhere
Celebrations of life can have venues like a peaceful park or a beachfront. Since joyous occasions are more lively, the venue can be the departed’s favorite restaurant, a favorite bar, or any place that was personally significant. On the other hand, funerals are usually held in places of worship or in funeral homes.
- Attire: Strict or Casual?
For funerals, visitors have to comply with a strict dress code often dictated by the religion of the family member. These vary from culture to culture and from religion to religion, however expect that funerals will have some formality with their dress code. Celebrations of life are usually casual, so the dress code usually depends on the venue.
- Which One Is Right for You?
While there’s a stark difference between the two methods, the choice is entirely up to you. If the deceased were a religious and spiritual person, a funeral may make more sense. You may also do both if you prefer.
On the other hand, if the family has values aligned to joyous and lively ways of remembering a loved one, then an artistic celebration of life would be a great option. We suggest that you also take your financial resources into consideration since funerals can cost $7,640 on average, not including burial and cremation. A celebration of life’s budget is completely up to you as it is more flexible and relies on personal ways of showing love and appreciation for your dearly departed.
The Unique Beauty of Celebrations of Life
You can let your imagination run wild when it comes to celebrations of life. We know that having someone special in your life pass away is among the toughest experiences one can experience in one’s lifetime. In honoring our departed, we’re sure that you want to make it memorable so that their memories are forever cherished in ways that nobody will ever forget.
No two celebrations of life are the same. In fact, all of them are unique in their own way as families can express their happiness that their departed has moved on into a state where no pain and suffering exists.
A beautiful and sentimental way to celebrate a life is by commissioning human ashes into pieces of artwork. Artisan companies have found ways of turning a melancholy event into an expression of love by making colorful memorial urns, keepsake urns, and cremation jewelry. While some are wearable, others are simply creative ways to keep their memories alive in your household through colorful urns that can light up a room.
Find Healing in Remembrance
Each life is unique. We may have lost someone close to us, but their memory lives on in our hearts. Their legacies are forever ingrained in our minds. You can choose to tell their story in a number of ways.
An unforgettable way to celebrate life is with the creative and innovative minds at Celebration Ashes. Their line of handmade, customized memorial products is beautiful enough to light up somber occasions and commemorate the best of us who have gone ahead.