Here at GetReligion, we've been talking about putting the "fun" in funeral since at least 2011.
So of course we were interested in a front-page story in Tuesday's Orlando Sentinel on how unique services are livening loved ones' tributes to the dead.
Let's start this funeral party at the top:
Before he died, a longtime Central Floridian asked to be remembered simply: with a cocktail party and a jazz band. That's exactly what he got.
To honor the dead, many now opt to have vibrant and distinct memorial services, whether it involves a film festival's stage or bringing a plow into a funeral home.
Jim Semesco, president of the Florida Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association and area general manager of a Leesburg funeral home, said he has seen the change in services.
"Baby boomers, millennials, Gen Xers are not as traditional as their parents and grandparents," Semesco said. "I think for quite some time they weren't getting a lot out of funerals."
In his Leesburg funeral home, Semesco has seen many examples. To honor a farmer, loved ones surrounded themselves with fresh vegetables in the chapel, alongside a plow. To pay homage to a painter, 50 pieces of her artwork were displayed. To acknowledge a "Star Trek" fan, memorabilia was brought in for a themed service.
"You use it as a time to really get to know the person," Semesco said.
But why are many opting to go this direction when it comes time to remember a loved one? Is there — just possibly — a religion angle in this trend? Or, given the rise of the nones, an "absence of religion" angle?