Bad Karma Caskets and Extreme Embalming: What’s New (Old) at the Funeral Home

What characterizes our current period of funeral planning? Future visitors to the funeral museum will reflect on our generation’s proclivities for personalized, eco-friendly, tech savvy, and hyper-connected options. Here are a few new (old) trends in funeral planning that are continuing to increase in popularity:

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Cheesecloth Burial Dress:

I had someone come in and talk about making a cheesecloth dress for their mother who is checking out of this world soon. She got excited about something found on Pinterest and the fact cheesecloth is recyclable and probably biodegradable. The daughter likes to sew, the mother loves cheese. It really is a win.

But most cheesecloth is a gauzy, extremely thin fabric that could barely be sewn as it is more holes than thread. It is used in costuming, making jams, making cheeses, basically to strain things. I can’t imagine how it could be used in a garment or even sewn. It tends to stick to itself. Maybe take a look at doilies?

Extreme Embalming:

David-Colon-motorcycle3 This is the art of capturing a life-like pose, only you are dead. The deceased takes in the whole scene while seated and adorned in their signature clothes and surrounded by their accoutrements. The body of David Morales Colón was placed on his motorcycle in a peculiar “viewing ceremony” that his family requested after he was shot in San Juan, Puerto Rico.112530_1280x720

Embalmers estimate it would take quadruple the typical number of hours to prepare such a unique funeral experience, and it would mean the funeral industry would have to change how we embalm a person. We would likely have to use a harder fluid so the body would stay stiff in whatever position and the person would have to be embalmed in the position they would be viewed.

Bad Karma Coffin:

27thailand2_650At a Buddhist temple in Thailand people lie in coffins in order to put bad karma behind them and start life afresh. You drink beer, eat snacks, and talk about death. Then you lie down in a coffin and pretend you are dead. These events are happening in Japan and sponsored by funeral homes and coffin.

Coffin Academy in South Korea is a motivational seminar intended to inspire people to lead more fulfilling lives by simulating death. During the program, which costs $35, you decorate your tombstone, write a will, and say your final goodbyes then climb into a coffin.

Participants say they are reborn after the ritual, with all their bad karma behind them. Other people explain that the ritual helps to fool spirits into thinking they are already dead, allowing them to start their lives afresh, like newborns. Some people even claim that while lying in coffins they have met the spirits of their ancestors.

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