american funerals

Topics: Funeral, Funeral home, Burial Pages: 6 (1653 words) Published: February 21, 2015
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2 May 2014
A Re-look at the America Funeral Process
Funerals are some of the most difficult activities for most individuals to experience, especially when they involve the death of a loved one. Over the years, there has grown a common and yet distinct American custom when it comes to how funerals are perceived and conducted (James 348). However, most Americans still hold unto the traditional funerals as opposed to modern ones. Unfortunately, the American funeral customs put a lot of more emphasis on some activities that turn out to be very costly. Worst of all, the economic burden that this traditions put on the bereaved families is even more detrimental. Most of the old folks are the greatest defenders and proponents of the traditional funeral customs. Since these are people who have the greatest if not the final say when it comes to family matters, many American families have found themselves becoming slaves of this old and outdates funeral practices whose greatest achievement is soaring the expenses of such a process. Yes, that is very true. American funerals are one of the most expensive funerals to undertake in the whole world. The funerals expenses plans or insurances have done nothing but to augment the funerals expenses as well (Leamy). It is very important for Americans to realize that there are many hidden charges that come with such plans. Funeral rituals have remained part of the American funeral process for many years. Just like in other parts of the world, the history of the funeral services in an American setting is a history of mankind as well. Funeral customs date as old as civilization itself. Every culture and civilization attends to the proper care of their dead (Misarina 81). Every culture and civilization ever studied has three things in common that relate to death and the disposition of the dead. The first one is some kind of funeral rituals, rites and ceremonies. The second one is the sacred place for those that have passed on. Last but not least, the memorialization or remembrance of our loved ones that have left us is one of the things that we hold dear to our hearts. Studies have found that burial grounds of the Neanderthal man that date to about 60,000 BC had some form of ritual conducted with the dead (Andrews 511). They would put animal horns on the dead person’s body and also drop spray the areas around the body with some flower, all in an effort to remember the loved ones and give them the so called “honorable” sendoffs. This Neanderthal man had little if psychological know-how, and yet carries out a ritual for his loved one that had passed away (512). It is therefore true to say that caring for our loved ones that have left us is an instinctual behaviors that is part of our human race. Nonetheless, we should not incur unnecessary financial pressures just because of the simple reason that we need to do what our ancestors did. Traditions and customs are only good if they are of benefit to us. If they fail to benefit us, then there is no need of upholding them at all. They will be useless in our lives. There are so many aspects of the American funerals which should be discarded since they are not of any help to the bereaved members. Actually they end making the whole experience painful and stressing, both psychologically and financially. One of such aspect is the cost of the funerals that has for a long time been a domain of funeral insurers, better known as the funeral homes or the funeral industry. Funeral homes rapidly cropped up across America in the first few decades of the twentieth century as American life was transformed by urbanization, medical advances, and the increasing popularity of scientific attitudes and perspectives. The funeral home, a combination of business, religion, and consumerism, rapidly became an American institution in local neighborhoods. Even in infancy, the industry was plagued with public attacks leading to unfavorable...

Cited: Andrews, Peter. "The Neanderthal extinction." Trends in Ecology & Evolution 19.10 (2004): 511-512. Print.
Davis, Kenneth. "Dead Reckoning or Reckoning with the Dead: Hispanic Catholic Funeral Customs." Liturgy 21.1 (2006): 21-27. Print.
James, J. "Book Review: 15 Weddings and 17 Funerals." The Expository Times 116.10 (2005): 348-349. Print.
Leamy, Elisabeth. "Funerals: How to Beat the High Cost of Dying." ABC News. ABC News Network, 23 July 2012. Web. 2 May 2014. .
Lynch, Thomas. Bodies in Motion and at Rest: Essays. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000. Print.
Misarina, Galina. "The Magic of Laments in Funeral Customs and in Warding off Vermin/Weeds." Mãetagused 47 (2011): 65-82. Print.
Nash, Alanna. "The High Cost of Funerals: Families Forced to Cut Back." The Fiscal Times. N. p., 25 June 2010. Web. 2 May 2014. .
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