The Significance of Funerals: Commemoration, Support, and Celebration

Why Funerals are Important

The Significance of Funerals: Commemoration, Support, and Celebration

When most of us think of funerals, we think of a sad or sombre occasion that marks the end of someone’s life. Friends and family gather to say goodbye to their loved one, usually with a religious or non-religious service, followed by a burial or cremation.

In fact, funerals have always been an important part of human life. They are a significant event in every culture and religion as a way of honouring and observing a person’s life and transition to death. The earliest funerals included torch-bearing processions in Ancient Rome, and the basis of the word “funeral” may come from the Latin “furnis” or “funus”. Discoveries of graves of the earliest humans also point to the evidence that funeral rites and burials have existed for as long as we have. Funerals have religious aspects: to help the soul move from this world to the afterlife, or reincarnation or resurrection. But all cultural and historical evidence points to the fact that funerals also fulfil the following secular purposes: mourning the deceased, celebrating their life, and offering support and sympathy to the bereaved.

In some cultures, funerals are grand occasions attended by the whole community and marked by rituals and prayers. In other cultures they are small, intimate gatherings for only the closest family and friends.

Whether it’s a send-off, a tribute, a ceremony, a farewell, or a “FUNeral” - funerals are just as important in the modern day as they have been throughout history. Regardless of what you choose for your funeral, all types of funerals are significant and serve many purposes other than simply marking the end of one’s life. Keep reading to learn how planning and having a funeral can help you and your family during a difficult time.


Here are some key takeaways about the importance of funerals:

  • Funerals are a life events that should be commemorated
  • Funerals offer a place to process difficult emotions
  • Funerals offer a place for people to receive support
  • Funerals directors are a wonderful source of support
  • The ceremony aspect of funerals can provide comfort
  • Planning a funeral can help process difficult emotions
  • Funerals bring people together
  • Funerals can be a celebration of life
  • Funerals help us say goodbye



1. Funerals mark an important life event

We commemorate all major life events: births, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations. So why not the end of life as well? Reframing death as a life event that can be celebrated can help you and your family cope with the confusing feelings that surround the transition from life to death.



2. Funerals provide a safe time and place to share grief

The death of a loved one is a difficult time and it can be hard to navigate the strong emotions that occur during this time. Confusing and conflicting emotions can come up, such as intense sadness, depression, shock, denial, relief, and anger.

While there are no rules about how to grieve someone’s death, having a safe, non-judgemental space and time to experience and share these emotions is incredibly important. Funerals offer such a place and time for the living friends and family to come together and share in their memories and grief, as well as reach out for support.

Without funerals, people may hold on to these emotions for a long time. They may not know how or when to express their grief. People may also not know how and when to ask for support during the grieving process. Funerals provide a safe, supportive space for those grieving to acknowledge, express, and share their feelings.



3. Funeral directors are a wonderful support system for grieving families

When you plan a funeral, you will be working with an experienced funeral director. During such a difficult and sometimes stressful time, funeral directors are a wonderful source of support for grieving families or individuals nearing the end of their life.

Funeral directors offer an empathetic ear, they understand what you are going through, and they will be able to gently guide you throughout the funeral planning process. Here are five ways that funeral directors help when someone dies

When you plan a funeral with The Farewell Guide, one of the 1,200+ experienced and professional funeral directors partnered with us across the UK will be available to support you.


Find out how to choose the right funeral director for you here



4. The ceremony and ritual of funerals provide comfort

If you are a spiritual or religious person, you may take comfort in the ceremonial or religious aspects that a funeral provides. Many of us take comfort in the familiar, so at a time that may seem scary or uncertain, the familiar ceremony of a funeral can help put us at ease.

At a funeral, a priest or officiant may also provide guidance and advice to the grieving which many people find helpful. Whether it is a religious ceremony that your community has observed for generations, a family tradition, or a modern spiritual ceremony, funerals can provide a sense of order, predictability, and comfort.


5. Planning a funeral helps the individual and family to prepare for the transition

Planning your own funeral, or the funeral of a loved one can help you prepare emotionally for the transition from life to death.

Funerals commemorate a person’s life, and being able to plan your own funeral will help you choose how exactly you want your life to be commemorated. From choosing what flowers and music you would like to whether you would like to have a traditional burial or an eco-friendly one, planning your funeral could help make the transition easier.

Planning a funeral can also be an opportunity for friends and family to memorialise their loved one while also processing their death in a healthy way.


6. Funerals bring people together in remembrance and support

Funerals provide a space for friends and family and community to gather and offer support to each other. Gathering in a physical space, such as a dedicated funeral home, church, temple or mosque, or any other venue can help the grieving feel supported and less alone in their feelings.


7. A funeral is a celebration of a person’s life

Traditional funerals or living funerals can be a celebration of one’s life! Instead of simply being an event which commemorates death, you can think of your funeral as a celebration of your life that you can share with your loved ones.


8. Funerals offer a time and space for us to say goodbye

Especially in times when someone has died suddenly, or if we haven’t been able to say goodbye when they were alive, the funeral provides us with the opportunity to say our goodbyes, and experience closure.

Funerals play an important role in our lives, no matter what country you’re from, your religion, your ethnicity, or your beliefs. Funerals - whether small and intimate or a big celebratory party - fulfil many important purposes other than just marking the end of a person’s life. Funerals provide catharsis, acceptance, closure, and comfort.

We hope that this article helped you understand why funerals are important in marking the end of one’s life. While funerals can be traditional or modern and trendy, have a religious aspect to them, or be a humanist service - the choice is completely yours to make.

Whether you’d like to have a traditional funeral or be able to customise your funeral to your liking, do try out our free funeral planning tool: