Funerals have evolved over thousands of years because they offer us a chance to express and work through our emotions, gather the support of those around us, and celebrate a life that has been lived and has touched us. Sociologists tell us that through time there have been four culturally universal touchstones. They are - family, government, pride in one's culture, and funeral rites.
The funeral offers a socially accepted climate for mourning and gives those in attendance the opportunity to receive and express love, grief, and support. The funeral offers us a chance to gain emotional support through sharing and also confirms the reality that a death has occurred. A funeral allows friends to show respect for family and for the deceased. The funeral provides, through the sharing of memories, the opportunity for a farewell by means of ritual and provides a dramatic presentation of the fact that a life has been lived. The funeral is another ritual celebrating life's major events such as baptism, first communion, confirmation, graduation, wedding and retirement. The funeral meets the needs of those who mourn - socially, theologically, and psychologically. The funeral provides an avenue of stability through a social support network.
There are three primary reasons why people attend funerals: To recognize the fact that a life was lived, to remember the deceased, and reminisce on how your life was touched by theirs.
In every culture and subculture, and throughout time, we find these common parts of the funeral:
Celebrate a life that has been lived and has touched so many.
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