Researchers from the University of Bath will be joining experts from around the UK and beyond in looking at questions like these at a conference about funerals to be held in the city next week.
'A good send off: local and regional variations in how the British dispose of their dead’ is being run by the Centre for Death & Society (CDAS) on June 19 at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute.
It’s being organised by Professor Tony Walter, Director of the University’s MSc in Death & Society.
He said: “What makes a good send off in Stornaway might not be at all good in Surbiton.
“The exclusion of women from the burial ceremony in some Welsh valley funerals would appal some women in Fife who help lower the coffin into the grave.
“Funerals in Totnes are typically very different from funerals in Tottenham.
“And that’s just for starters. When we add in the customs and practices of those who have migrated to the British Isles from elsewhere, the picture becomes ever more complex.”
The aim of the conference is to ask whether there is any such thing as a British way of death or whether there is actually a mosaic of practices.
During the conference, which runs from 9.30am until 5pm papers will be given by academic researchers and practitioners in the funeral industry.
Speakers will be complemented by an audience of scholars, practitioners and the public, able to contribute their own knowledge, comments and ideas to the day.
Conference places cost £25 and include a lunch and refreshments.
Anyone wishing to book a place should email the Centre for Death & Society.