Modern Aussies have little interest in traditional funerals - they're more for being farewelled at a beach or bowlo before being pressed into a jewel, rocketed into space in a firework or tattooed into someone's skin.
Increasingly, conventional services are being boycotted in favour of informal gathering as families look for alternative ways to celebrate loved ones who might not otherwise have opted to have a funeral at all, research shows.
Despite the vast majority feeling a farewell is very important for the grieving process, one in five say they would rather not have a formal funeral.
They don't see the importance of the service or want to put their families through the emotional pain and hassle of organising one, according to a new poll conducted for four leading Australian funeral providers.
But with the shift away from the traditional, those grieving might be left experiencing "post-funeral remorse" if they don't mark the occasion, says Steve Kellaway, Managing Director of Olsens Farewells.
Of those who didn't attend a loved one's funeral, 58 per cent experienced significant post-funeral remorse, data collected from more than 1000 people shows.
"It's clear the ritual of the funeral remains important for the grieving process and non-attendance of a loved one's funeral results in a high level of regret - something we particularly saw exacerbated by COVID," Mr Kellaway said.
"But it is clear the funeral industry is on the cusp of significant evolution and as society and trends change, we all need to offer people more choices that fit today's attitudes."
More families are looking for alternative and unique ways to farewell loved ones, says Dale Maroney of Walter Carter Funerals.
"This research is testament to the growing sentiment of Aussies to shake up the traditional funeral," he says, adding that his business is working to create alternatives to traditional chapel offerings.
"Our consultants regularly work with families to hold farewells at other venues like beaches, art centres and local surf or bowling clubs.
"The study actually found more than half of Australians would be more likely to have a farewell if it was somewhere other than a church, crematorium or chapel, with beaches and parks topping the list."
About 58 per cent of respondents said they would probably choose a cremation if creative options for the ashes were available - such as being pressed into a jewel, placed in a firework or mixed with ink for a tattoo.
Australian Associated Press
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