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"Enterrer les traditions" : évolutions et défis des funérailles au Royaume-Uni

In July 2019, Co-operative Funeralcare, Britain’s largest firm of funeral directors, published a report on the changing trends of UK funerals and burying traditions. It was based on Co-operative’s business data since 2014, insights from funeral directors collected in June and July 2019, and an online poll by YouGov of just over 4,000 British adults conducted on 9-11 July 2019.

Giving further support to the secularisation trend, the report found traditional funerals with religious rituals in decline. People have been increasingly opting out for personalised ways of celebrating life outside the religious setting. Moreover, it revealed a growing demand for celebrants – rather than religious leaders – to conduct funerals. For example, undertakers have reported a shift towards unique, secular ceremonies and a wide range of innovative and eco-friendly venues, including funerals held in the zoo.

Their findings are also in line with the Humanists UK predictions for deeply personalised ceremonies and more people opting out for spiritualist celebrating of the life of the deceased, reflecting some of the growing preferences of those identifying themselves with non-religion and un-belief in life as in death.

As the religious burials decline, numbers of cremation ceremonies show no signs of dwindling, with the exception of Jewish and Muslim faith groups. In Islam, and most forms of Judaism, cremation is prohibited. Gardens of Peace is the largest dedicated Muslim cemetery in the country which opened its first site in east London in 2002. In providing its written evidence to the CMA Interim Report on funeral markets, the chairman of the organisation spoke of the Muslim community being ‘the only community which believes in Burial’, while also raising concerns about the lack of affordable funerals.

High costs and somewhat inefficient provisions inside the crematoriums were also mentioned in the evidence given by the Sikh Council UK, particularly in relation to limited spaces. Indeed funeral poverty has become an ever pressing concern - see reports by Quakers Social Action.

D 7 octobre 2019    AKatya Braginskaia

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