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In the United States, funerals have historically followed a prescribed religious ritual or had at least some religious element as part of the service. Typically, there was a period of viewing or visitation when the community could gather to pay their respects to the deceased and offer comfort to the family.
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The funeral service was held in a church and concluded at a cemetery where the deceased was laid to rest. As time passed and the population became more centered on developing cities, there became a need for places for the public to gather and honor the dead and also for persons with specialized skills to help people care for their loved ones.
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Thus the modern funeral home and funeral director emerged to serve the needs of their community. The funeral director typically had living quarters at the funeral home and there was also dedicated space for the public to gather.
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The economic exploitation of death rites is discussed in relation to Victorian funerals and the nineteenth-century reform movement, with its central concern for public health and sanitation. The consequences for the funeral industry and the mechanisms it employed to ensure its survival are examined in a consideration of twentieth-century innovation. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide.
Professionalising the Funeral Industry in England — This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves. If during our lives we are often able to disguise from ourselves that we are but superior animals, the disabilities of birth and death bring the fact unmistakably before us. The helplessness of a new-born babe is proverbial, but Nature has provided it with the means of making its urgent necessities unmistakably apparent, and she has not been less considerate to the corpse. We must not be shocked to hear that it is by means of the olfactory organ that the sexton beetle is made aware of the proximity of a new "client.
Arrived at the spot, they find the corpse to be that of a recently deceased mouse.
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- II. BURIAL CUSTOMS AND CEMETERIES IN AMERICAN HISTORY.
The work is finished by piling the earth neatly on the top. For the purpose of excavation Nature has provided the sexton beetle with club-shaped antennae, which are supported by strong muscles equal to the work that they are called upon to perform. It should be stated that Mrs. Beetle remains in possession of the body in which her eggs are laid. Surely this is a sanitary and logical conclusion to a commonplace event, in which everybody concerned is paid off and satisfied.
It teaches a lesson that burial is a natural method of disposing of the dead, and it gives more than a hint, that believe what we will of the prospects of a future life, death is only a rather misleading term for a changed, by no means an impaired, activity. It will be self-evident that in dealing with the larger animals, such as bears, lions, etc. We must not, however, under-rate the extraordinary power of the insect world when working together with a common objective. In the jungle the greater feeds on the lesser, and the jackal and vulture scavenge what remains.