Funeral ceremonies help us come to terms with the loss of a loved one.
SANCTIFYING THE AREA
We will prepare the area for your loved one just before the ceremony begins.
Why is this important? It helps us come to terms with the fact that your loved one is no longer with us, and it gives us peace of mind that they are at rest now.
What do we need? Flowers, wreaths, petals.
How should you prepare for this? You should ask the funeral party to come to your loved one’s place of rest an hour before the rites begin.
PAYING OUR LAST RESPECTS
We will stay at the graveside for a moment after the official rites and take a moment to say goodbye.
Why is this important? This ceremony allows us to get used to the idea that the departed is no longer with us.
What do we need? Access to clay and the chance to throw a handful of clay into the grave.
How should you prepare for this? You don’t need to do anything.
GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE
If your loved one is cremated, there often is not a place we can visit and spend time remembering them. We will create a small garden of remembrance where we can scatter the ashes later. This ceremony is also an important bonding experience for the people left behind.
Why is this important? We’ll establish a place to express our love for the departed and our memories of them. These memories can grow and flourish. It’s an act of tribute to the departed. The ceremony also makes us slow down and take stock in the natural cycle of life and death.
What do we need? To choose an appropriate place - a private piece of land is best. If you would rather the area be in the countryside, make sure that no construction is planned in the immediate vicinity. Having a source of water in nearby is good. And finally have a think about marking out the area in some way that you will be able to recognise over several years - perhaps by using a special stone, bird house, or bell strung from a tree.
How should you prepare for this? Let the mourners know that they should wear clothes they don’t mind getting dirty. They might like to bring some seeds of their own.
LAYING THE URN
This ceremony can take place at any time after receiving your loved one’s ashes. It can be carried out shortly after the cremation, or indeed some time later. It’s ideal if you have had a large group of people attending the main rites and would like to say your final goodbyes in the company of a few close friends or family.
Why is this important? The ceremony helps us come to terms with the fact that our loved one is no longer with us and has gone to a different place.
What do we need? Mourners should come to the place where the urn will be laid to rest (often a columbarium at a graveyard).
How should you prepare for this? You don’t need to prepare anything in particular - we’ll get everything ready together. You might like to have a think about what song you would like to sing with the mourners, or what poem you’d like to hear.
RELEASING SKY LANTERNS
After the cremation and funeral you need to symbolically say goodbye to your loved one, perhaps by releasing their spirit in the form of a sky lantern.
How does this help? A ceremony with these so-called heavenly lanterns helps us come to terms with the idea that our loved one is going to a distant place, but that the journey there is one of peace and we can help them along the way.
What do we need? Our funeral clown will obtain the candles - also known as sky lanterns. You should agree on a suitable place to release the lights. These lanterns can only be released under calm conditions, away from buildings and airports. We will have a substitute ceremony prepared in the event of inclement weather.
How should you prepare for this? You don’t need to prepare in any particular way. Your funeral clown will get everything ready for you.
Butterflies symbolise transformation, changing from one state of existence to another. After the cremation and funeral - or even at the funeral - we will release butterflies.
How does this help? This ceremony tells us that our loved one’s departure to another existence can be a beautiful, tender moment.
What do we need? Your funeral clown will get everything ready.
How should you prepare for this? You don’t need to do anything in advance.
SCATTERING THE ASHES IN A RIVER
Water is a cleansing, freeing force. It symbolises the flow of life. Water will carry your loved one away and wash away our grief. There are many ways of scattering the ashes. We could add petals or floral wreaths to help us visualise our loved one’s departure. Some people prefer to lay the ashes in a small boat which is set on the water and gradually sinks and disperses. (These boats are biodegradable, as they are made of paper.)
How does this help? The way that water flows is reminiscent of the way that time flows, bringing us spiritual peace.
What do we need? Depending on your specific requirements, we will need paper boats or floral wreaths. Your funeral clown will make sure everything is in order.
How should you prepare for this? Let the mourners know that we will be spending some time in quiet contemplation by a river. It’s often chilly, especially in winter, so we recommend you come warmly dressed.
SCATTERING THE ASHES IN THE SKY
We can scatter your loved one’s ashes in the air - using a helium balloon. We fill a balloon with ashes and helium and release it into the sky. The balloon will reach a height of around 9 kilometres (the edge of the stratosphere) before bursting and releasing your loved one into the sky.
How does this help? Scattering the ashes “in heaven” is a simple but beautiful and romantic metaphor for your loved one’s journey into the next world.
What do we need? We need to agree on a place to release the balloon (and to carry out other rites). Be careful - we need to avoid flight paths and airways.
How should you prepare for this? You don’t need to do anything in advance. Your funeral clown will sort everything out.
RETURNING THE ASHES TO THE EARTH
This ceremony gives us the chance to say goodbye to our loved one. This is particularly helpful if the cremation took place without a ceremony. In a sense it’s a burial using an urn.
How does this help? Burials give us the chance to say goodbye gradually (at the graveside, by the coffin, when lowering the coffin, by pouring some earth into the grave). No such opportunity exists at a cremation. This rite is a substitute for a burial.
What do we need? An urn with the departed’s ashes, equipment (e.g. spades, pickaxes) and something to mark the spot: this could be a statuette, a special stone, a bird house or even a traditional gravestone. And most importantly of all, we need a place for the grave. We recommend somewhere on private land.
How should you prepare for this? Ask the mourners to bring wildflowers, meadow grasses or dried flowers. Smaller flowers are best.
CONNECTING WITH THE DECEASED
It’s often the case that some mourners have unresolved issues with the departed, and need to connect with them one last time. This usually takes place after the formal ceremony, in the company of a few close friends or relatives.
How does this help? We’ll try and express things we didn’t manage to when our loved one was alive - perhaps asking them for forgiveness or thanking them.
What do we need? It’s best if you choose a solemn place for this ceremony to take place. Your funeral clown will help you with this.
How should you prepare for this? You just need to ask people interested in contacting the deceased to wait at the end of the rites.
TRANSITIONING INTO AN ANCESTOR
This ceremony deepens our understanding that our loved one is no longer a living member of our family, but that they have become our ancestor.
How does this help? This delineates a border between the world of the living and the dead. It helps us come to terms with the idea that we are descended from our ancestors, and that one day we will play this same role for someone else.
What do we need? We don’t need anything specific.
How should you prepare for this? We need a quiet, solemn place where we won’t be disturbed. If the ceremony takes place straight after the rites, it’s not a good idea for it to be held in the same venue.
This ceremony allows terminally ill people to say goodbye to their loved ones fully, in a dignified way, with compassion and grace.
Farewell parties are very individualised and we always organise them in accordance with the dying person’s wishes.
How does this help? This ceremony can help friends and family to overcome their inhibitions and extricate themselves from their day-to-day reality. It helps the dying person to enjoy their final party - even if they don’t have the strength to organise it.
What do we need? We will prepare everything together - it is a very individualised event.
How should you prepare for this? Your funeral clown will try and organise everything.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, don’t be shy!
We can come up for everything for you.
COMING TO TERMS WITH DEATH AND GRIEVING
We need to come to terms with the fact that the departed is truly gone. Unforgettable experience that we live through together and that leave a lasting impression help us with this. These experiences also help to join us.
MAKING PEACE WITH LOSS
The process of grieving is a long and complex experience - a single ceremony cannot substitute it. However, it can help us begin the process by reminding mourners that their loved one is in a better place, wherever that may be.
BRINGING MOURNERS TOGETHER IN GRIEF
Those closest to the deceased will have accepted their loved one’s death to a certain extent - they will, at least, be ready and willing to talk about it. But more distant friends and family often don’t know what to do, they feel uncomfortable, so they either retreat into themselves or simply avoid going to the funeral at all. Funeral ceremonies can guide them to express themselves.
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