Living Funerals – What are they and why do people choose them?

Funerals allow family and friends to come together to grieve and celebrate the life of a loved one who has recently departed, but there’s an increasing trend to do this while they are still alive with a living funeral.

Living funerals were popularised in Japan in the 1990s. The ageing population felt they were burdening their children with the responsibility of caring for them, so began holding these funerals as a way of easing the pressure on their children while also strengthening their own sense of self-worth.

living funerals

They are generally held by those reaching the end of their life through old age, or because of terminal illness. They share many of the same elements as a traditional funeral, but with a more elevating mood.

Living funerals are an opportunity for closure and acceptance – by the guest of honour and their loved ones – that they are approaching death. While they can be painful and make it feel more real, living funerals can also be cathartic.

These funerals can enable people to pay tribute to their loved one, and release their emotions without feeling awkward or embarrassed. They also allow the honouree to reminisce and tell stories about their life and the special people in it, while listening to the lovely things people have to say about them.

Living funerals are becoming a popular choice as people want to die in the same way they have lived – perhaps an End of Life Celebration seems more fitting than a living funeral. 

Such funerals can be more affordable than a traditional funeral as more options are open to you; it could be led by a friend and take place at your home or a place of significance, for example.

However and wherever you’d like to celebrate your life, your wishes for a living funeral can be recorded in a funeral plan from Capital Life. A living funeral can take place in the present and a Simple Plan from Capital Life can be used to plan and prepay a simple funeral for when the time comes. To find out how to get started, call one of our helpful advisors on 0800 411 8688 or contact us.