Traditional religious funeral dying out in Scotland

Non-traditional funerals are more fashionable.
Non-traditional funerals are more fashionable.
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The traditional religious funeral is on its way out in Scotland, with people opting for quirky, personalised services celebrating their loved one’s life instead – or not marking their passing at all.

Getting a commemorative tattoo and disposing of ashes in the engine of a steam train or on a firework are among the most unusual ways to mark the deaths of loved ones, according to the funeral trends report from Co-op Funeralcare.

Some people opted to scatter ashes during a skydive, while others held funerals at “destination” locations including a zoo, cattle auction house and a teepee – as well as a McDonald’s Drive Thru.

Only one in ten Scottish adults would choose a traditional, religious service, the study found. One in three want their friends and family to have a get-together to celebrate their life, as opposed to a traditional service, while a third don’t want any fuss made at all.

Two fifths of Scottish adults think funerals will become more informal in the future and a sixth see the wake as becoming more significant than the funeral service itself.

One in 25 funerals arranged by the Co-op is now a “direct to cremation” funeral, where there is no funeral and no one at the service, as chosen by pop legend David Bowie.

Samantha Tyrer, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, said: “The funeral sector is rapidly changing. While 16.5 million of us still feel uncomfortable talking about death, we’re clear on what we want and, in the majority of cases, it’s no longer a traditional funeral service.

“More so now than ever before, we’re seeing requests for wonderfully personalised ceremonies, whether that be on the 18th hole of a golf club or having a pet dog present on the day. The choices are endless so it’s crucial that people make their wishes known to ensure they’re not missed.”

In the last year people choosing to put ashes into jewellery keepsakes has increased by a fifth, with most popular choices including tribute rings.