Sarah Bogaers, bilingual funeral celebrant

Why rituals?

Rituals are as old as recorded human history and are a feature of all known human societies. They help us to mark significant moments and events. The loss of a loved one is one such significant event and his or her funeral is one of the rituals surrounding that loss. People gather to share memories and to support each other. Everything that is said and done during the ceremony carries special meaning. There is time to reflect.

Until relatively recently, most funerals in the Netherlands took place in a church and included traditional, familiar rituals. Nowadays, things are very different. People choose to say their farewells at a crematorium, in a funeral home, in the garden, on the beach or at the pub - whatever feels appropriate. Beliefs are also much more diverse than they used to be. But regardless of the location and the personal beliefs of those involved: people who have suffered a loss feel the need for a ritual. A sequence of words and actions that mark an important time of transition. Rituals are part of life – we need them.