Why do we have funerals?

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I think of all the questions I am ever asked, this is the biggest one that is never asked directly. It is usually more of a “throw me in the ditch” statement. It is, however, an excellent question. Why do we need to have funerals? For that matter, why do we have weddings, graduations, birthdays, baptisms, anniversaries, retirement parties, etc.? The underlying purpose of all of these is to celebrate a life event. So why do we have funerals? For the same reasons we celebrate other life events:

It establishes significance to the event.
It offers a chance for others to share in our moment.
It provides us a chance to honor tradition.

But the times, they are a-changing. How we honor life events is changing in all aspects. Church weddings are becoming “destination weddings”. The birthday party at home is becoming the birthday at a “party center”. Perhaps that sheds some light on why funerals have now become “Celebrations of Life”.

So why do we have funerals? For the same reasons we honor all other life events. It provides us all a chance to share, support, honor and in no small way, attest to the significance of the event itself, even if that event is death. That is why it is important that this event is discussed and planned before it happens. We would never think of getting engaged and then having a wedding in two days yet when someone dies, that short timetable is exactly what we have to work with. Preparation and planning are key to not only having a funeral but doing it right. So as you go about living, laughing and loving, remember why we celebrate life events and plan for them to ensure they are as special and unique as the event they celebrate.

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