10 Amazing Celebrations of Life (Pictures)

A funeral service isn’t just about remembering the life that was lived; it’s about celebrating the life that was lived. And what better way to celebrate someone, than by holding a funeral service that is as unique as their life?

Here are some amazing celebrations of life from all around the world.

1. Indonesian Beach Funeral


In Indonesia, funerals are a colorful celebration of life. The above photo was taken during a funeral procession on the beach in the fishing village of Jimbaran, in Bali, Indonesia. Often, Balinese funerals are elaborate, expensive affairs, much like an American wedding. They include a procession, much like a festival, filled with bright colors and floats, where the community is celebrating the life of the deceased.

2. September 11th Candlelight Vigil


Mourners light candles in remembrance of the fallen heroes of Flight 93 during the September 11th terrorist attacks on the U.S. The candle-lit luminaries shown above span the length of the Wall of Names Memorial in the National Park in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The first phase of the Memorial officially opened September 10, 2011. Located at the actual crash site of Flight 93, the Memorial is open to the public 7-days a week.

3. An Arist Remembered


When art car artist Tom Kennedy died, the San Francisco Bay Area art community joined together to memorialize him for his work. Considered a pioneer in the art-car movement, his designs were often inspired by the sea, but he was also famous for building the Topsy-Turvy bus for ice cream czar Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry’s. The service began with a 40-car art car parade and ended with a big party at a warehouse where his work was on display for all to admire.

4. Remembering Tsunami Victims


On December 26, 2009 people gathered in Thailand’s Phang Nga province to celebrate the lives of the 230,000 victims who died in the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake 5 years earlier. As part of the remembrance, the gatherers lit and sent flying lanterns over the Andaman Sea.

5. An Eco-Friendly Celebration


A funeral service should represent the life that was lived—and for Serenity Dixon of Columbia, South Carolina, that meant in the most-eco-friendly way possible. Friends and family gathered to celebrate her life at a “green” burial site where no chemicals are used and everything is biodegradable, including her casket which was made out of cardboard. For Dixon, and other eco-conscious minds, a “green” burial is a way for them to go “green” eternally.

6. Balloon Release


More than 1,000 people gather in New South Wales, Australia to celebrate the life of Jai Morcom—a 15-year-old boy who died of a brain hemorrhage the day after a schoolyard brawl. As a final farewell, mourners released colorful balloons in honor of Morcom at one of his favorite neighborhood parks.

7. Honoring Fallen Heroes


The Patriot Guard Riders is a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who attend the funerals of fallen American heroes, at the invitation of the deceased’s family. The Riders shelter, protect and escort the family of the deceased during the funeral procession.

8. Surfer Memorial


A few hundred surfers gathered for a tribute paddle-out to celebrate the life of American professional surfer Andy Irons. Surrounded by family, friends and the Hawaiian surf community, Irons brother and wife scattered the ashes of the award-winning surfer.

9. A Cowboys Farewell


What better way to celebrate the life of a cowboy than with a horseback tribute? A group of cowboys donned in Wranglers and spurs, served as pallbearers at the funeral of fellow cowboy Tom and led the funeral procession while riding horseback.

10. A Jazz Funeral


The preferred description of a “jazz funeral” is simply a funeral with music. The tradition stems from New Orleans and typically begins with a march by the family, friends and a brass band through the streets from the home, funeral home or church to the cemetery.


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Rochelle Rietow


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  1. Kim Stacey

    What a stellar post! Very inspiring, and very moving. Thank you for starting my day out so nicely. The pictures are beautiful, and I love the cross-cultural approach. Death, as birth, is truly a fact that binds us to one another around the world. National “differences” fade into the background at moments like this, don’t they? 

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  3. Kim Stacey

    You know what I think – or what dawned on me just last night as I was falling asleep? That in every case you’ve cited, people are participating, not just sitting and watching. They are active, engaged, and experiencing a depth of healing which “sitting” just can’t manage (in my opinion). So, with that said, I’d love to hear what others do to engage family and guests – to energize the group to move forward into the ceremony, and not just witness it. 

  4. Philip Funeral Photography

    amazing lifestyle images

  5. Anonymous

     I thought so too! It’s great to see how people celebrate life all around the world!

  6. Anonymous

     I agree Kim! What an amazing experience to have everyone participating in the ceremony and celebrating the life lived!

  7. Matt

    A few years ago I had a family ask me if they could do a butterfly release at the cemetery for a burial.  I was a bit shocked by the request as we are in Wisconsin and it was the beginning of May.  Here in Wisconsin we don’t see butterflies in the beginning of May typically.  I wondered how it the world we could ever do such a thing.  None the less I told the family I would check into it.  So what do I do???  I googled butterfly release for funerals.  It was that easy.  I found a butterfly farm in Florida that shipped me 100 yellow butterflies via FedEx overnight shipping.  The butterlies came with instructions that I was to keep them in a cool place and then start to tap on the box a few minutes prior to the box opening up.  I did just that.  The butterflies woke up and shortly after I opened the box and out streamed all of these beautiful yellow butterflies.  One of them actually flew right over to the deceased family and landed on their hair.  The moment was breathtaking!  I would highly recommend this option to any family looking for something a bit different and exciting all at the same time.
    Buying 100 butterflies will set you back a couple hundred dollars, but it is worth it!  Guaranteed!

  8. Anonymous

    That sounds amazing Matt! What a great example of a celebration of life. And I’m sure that added touch meant the world to the family!

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