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What is a Celebration of Life?

Losing a loved one does not generally feel like a time to celebrate. However, there are some individuals whose light in the world simply doesn’t lend itself to a staid and somber ceremony. In this case, or when the deceased has planned their own celebration of life service, there are plenty of ways to say your final goodbyes. A celebration of life may still have moments of sadness, but it is customary in many cultures to focus on the joyful aspects of your loved one’s life on earth.

Funeral vs Celebration of Life

There are many similarities between the two commemorative events. Both focus around an individual and the gathering of friends and family to share memories and stories. However, there is much more room in a celebration of life for creativity, while a funeral is generally a more structured event. 

Location Matters

Traditionally, funerals are held in a funeral home or church. However, a celebration of life can be held practically anywhere. For example, you can hold a celebration of life in a funeral home, a family home, a restaurant or other location that was special to the family and their loved one. In warmer climates, these events can be held outside in a garden or other locale. 

Level of Formality

If you’re looking for a less formal way to bring people together to honor someone who has passed, a celebration of life may provide the right scope for your gathering. Funerals are often quite structured, with specific times set aside for visitation with the body, ceremonies that often include a spiritual or religious element and interment or committal ceremoniesThey are often lead by a clergy member whereas a celebration of life may be lead by a family member. Prayers may still be said, but often time is set aside for those attending to share a favorite story of their loved one.


Another way the two options differ is through the tokens that are provided to attendees. Funeral attendees often receive a printed bulletin that is used both as a memorial and a way to follow along during the service.  With a celebration of life, families may opt for an item that is a bit more personal — almost akin to a wedding favor. This could take the form of anything from a small, personalized candle to candy or other small gifts.

When you are ready to plan your funeral or celebration of life, contact our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery at 480-832-2850. We strive to always exceed your expectations, and will treat your loved one with the respect that they deserve. 

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