Celebration of Life
What is a Celebration of Life?
A celebration of life is a ceremony that is one alternative to a traditional funeral. It achieves the same goal as a funeral - gathering a group of people to pay tribute to and honor the life of loved one. A celebration of life service can pretty much be anything the family wants it to be. The ultimate benefit of a celebration of life is that it gives families the freedom to best represent and display the values, passions, and personality of the deceased.
More and more families want a ceremony that has a more positive environment that celebrates the life of their loved one as opposed to having a ceremony that is filled solely with sadness and grief. This is when we introduce and explain to them the concept of a celebration of life service. It can be quite a challenge to plan a ceremony that matches the unique life led by an individual, but if done right it is also one of the most rewarding and meaningful things you will ever do.
You should talk to your loved ones while they are still alive so they can help you plan their celebration of life. If it is not already clear to you, ask them questions like – “how do you want to be remembered?” or “how do you want to be honored?”. You may already know the values and passions of your loved one, but the best way is to get their insight into what kind of celebration of life they would like.
Celebrations of Life vs. Funerals
Funerals adhere to a level of tradition, ritual, and order. They generally consist of three parts: the visitation, the funeral service, and the committal service (graveside service). Those who require a religious aspect, a sense of spirituality, or want to adhere to tradition should choose a funeral.
A celebration of life is not tied to any rules or tradition. A celebration of life is focused on telling the story of a someone’s life and having guests celebrate that life. A celebration of life allows for more creativity than a funeral. Celebrations of life are often held after the deceased’s physical remains have been cared for through burial or cremation. This allows you much more time to plan the ceremony in contrast to a funeral service. It also allows for a more positive environment since you are not holding the ceremony immediately after the death when you are overcome with grief and sadness, and in no state to “celebrate” the life of your loved one.
Celebrations of life are similar to memorial services. Memorial services can be best described as a hybrid of a celebration of life and a funeral. They combine the flexibility of a celebration of life while still maintaining many of the components of a traditional funeral.
Celebration of Life Ideas
Below are celebration of life ideas and examples. Hopefully these demonstrate that the possibilities with a celebration of life are endless and that you can make it very personalized to suit your loved one.
1. For the Gardener:
-You could add a simple touch by filling the room with your loved one’s favorite flowers and plants.
- You could hold the event outside in a park or garden filled with flowers.
2. For the Philanthropist:
- For the person dedicated to charity work, you could hold a fundraising event where donations go to the cause most important to the deceased.
3. For the Foodie:
- Organize a dinner party hat serves your loved one’s favorite foods and dishes.
4. For the Sports Lover:
- You could organize a golf tournament or an exhibition baseball or basketball game.