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Unit 1 – Funerals in the UK

Many of what are often seen as British funeral traditions were born during the reign of Queen Victoria.  During this time, Victorian funerals became a highly elaborate affair – with bespoke mourning clothing, mourning envelopes and paper with black sealing wax and mourning jewellery all considered a standard part of the funeral arrangements.

By the mid-twentieth century funerals had become much more low key and often followed a similar and simple formula with a service (often in a church) followed by a burial or, increasingly, a cremation and a modest reception for the mourners. However today, funerals are rapidly becoming much more individualistic, with a wide choice and range of options available, as more people opt to celebrate the life of the individual who has passed away, as well as mourning their death. For many people in the UK, funerals are being designed to be uplifting occasions where families, friends and loved ones increasingly choose to add personal touches to a funeral service and arrange unique elements to give a send-off that is unique to the person that has died. This means that funeral directors need to be aware of a very wide range of options that might help families to have the funeral that is right for them.

There are now far fewer religious funerals held in the UK, with the Church of England now presiding over around a third of all funerals in the UK and increasing numbers of services being led by non-religious celebrants instead. The increasingly cultural diversity of the UK also means funeral directors are also becoming increasingly experienced in arranging funerals for a wide range of different religious communities

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