Signs of the times – undertakers as event managers

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Funerary customs are on the move in Germany, which seems to be emerging as the country to watch at the moment.

Undertakers are becoming a little like event managers. People who are not religious and don’t go to church expect undertakers to organize a ritual for the funeral.

In recent years the culture of mourning has changed in Germany. Funerals have become more personal, often more colourful.

‘As private business people, funeral directors are usually better able to cater for individual needs. A priest, on the other hand, is confined to certain structures,’ says Alexander Helbach, spokesman for the consumer funeral watchdog association in Germany. Helbach believes morticians are profiting from the change in attitudes by extending their services into organizing funeral orators or funeral halls for families of the dead.

As German undertakers move to meet consumer expectations by extending their service into ceremony-making, we note that most British undertakers have been very slow to exploit the opportunity.

Following recent discussion on this blog about who is responsible if a grave is dug too small, it is delightful to note that Germans, noted for thoroughness in all things, train their undertakers to cope with all contingencies:

In the central German town of Munnerstadt there is even a special graveyard where young morticians can practice burials – the only one of its kind in Europe. 

Read the whole article here


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