Aussies care about celebrating life, rather than mourning death, when someone they love passes away, a recent study has found.

Demographically, the nation’s values have changed in recent years - with a gradual shift away from religion and tradition. As a result, Australians want happy celebrations of life rather than sombre mournings of death when a loved one has passed away, according to *Bare’s Funeral Beliefs and Values Study.

Newspaper obituaries are out, catering is in, with a trend in informal and more intimate farewells emerging.

Whether it’s a funeral, memorial, or celebration of life, Australians value food and drink over traditional components, such as the presence of a casket or coffin, an organist and religion - although many aren't aware that these elements were optional, the report shows.

The below chart shows how important Aussies value each component when arranging a funeral or memorial.

This is how important Australians value each component of a funeral or memorial. Source: Bare's Funeral Beliefs and Values Study, 2021
Australians value food and drinking over newspaper obituaries, religion and organists when considering a funeral or memorial.

Intimate farewells over community gatherings

Aussies today are preferring intimate gatherings with those closest to the deceased, rather than the whole community gathering to pay respects to someone they barely knew. Additionally, families want the freedom to plan invite-only farewells attended by those closest to the deceased, the study shows.

“I don’t want people coming to my funeral who didn’t have time for me when I was alive.”

That’s a sentiment that we hear that A LOT.

Two in 3 people (66%) said it was important to hold a ceremony after someone dies. However, they are preferring a small, personal, and family-oriented gathering, rather than a larger public ceremony, with respondents indicating that’s what the deceased would have wanted.

Those that would prefer a non-attended funeral service, or direct cremation, cite simplicity, affordability, and the deceased’s wishes as to the reasons they would choose not to have an attended ceremony after the death of a loved one.

This is consistent with findings of a 2021 study by Woodthorpe et al. (2021) that suggests the recent shift towards “invite-only” commemorative farewells and direct cremation offer adequate social support for attendees because they prioritise an individual’s beliefs and values. They argue that society can no longer assume that the traditional public funeral ritual is necessary to support people in their grief after someone has died.

Why is a funeral or memorial important when someone dies?

If traditional funerals are no longer important to a lot of people when someone close to them dies, why do we still have them? To find out the answer, we surveyed Australians to learn why a funeral or memorial was important in modern society.

We found that the underlying reason was to celebrate the life and legacy of the person who has passed, and to support others in their grief.

Here are some of the responses we received:“It is a way to celebrate and say goodbye to the person who has died.”“It gives each individual the opportunity to say farewell and share stories about the deceased. These moments of sharing can often have humour, so loss isn't just about grief and tears.”“It provides some comfort from knowing that others share your grief and sorrow.”“It allows you to say goodbye in your own way to the person.”

Others told is that they don’t want a funeral or memorial to be sorrowful, overly formal, or unnecessarily expensive.

“Make it a happy celebration rather than mourning,” said one respondent.

Another added: “I would like to see less flowers, and the money donated to a charity instead.” You can read more about this in our article Donations in lieu of flowers.

The new way to funeral

Despite consumer values evolving over the years, the Australian funeral industry largely remains unchanged. Funeral directors today generally offer the same, formalised, service they did decades ago. As a result, families end up paying for things they don’t need.

That’s where Bare does things differently.

As Australia’s new way to funeral, we offer a simple cremation service for a fraction of the price, without the unnecessary fuss. All the things you need, and nothing you don’t.

The service can even be prepaid, to save families the emotional and financial stress later on. By prepaying your funeral with Bare, you can guarantee that you will get the send-off that you want.

... Good food, good friends, and a great send-off!To learn more about Bare or get a quote for a funeral, please visit or give our award-winning customer care team a call on 1800 202 901.*Bare’s Funeral Beliefs and Values Study was conducted by Pure Profile in July 2021 and is nationally representative of a sample of 1,026 Australians aged 35 and over (general population).