National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day on March 11 gives us the opportunity to honor these noble professionals that are plying their trade all across the U.S. Planning a funeral is a sombre and upsetting experience for those unfortunate enough to lose a loved one, and it takes empathetic and understanding funeral directors and morticians to make the whole process a little more bearable. Without their efforts, our loved ones wouldn’t get the sendoff they deserve and their passing would be an even more distressing experience. March 11 is a day to say thank you.
History of National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day
Funeral rites can be traced as far back as human culture itself with early homo sapiens over 300,000 years ago known to have carried out rituals when a loved one died. The beginnings of the mortician profession goes back thousands of years. From the Ancient Egyptians and their grandiose tombs to the new methods of burial we see today, such as biodegradable urns and water graves, the end-of-life rituals have been shaped through innovation.
Religion has always been at the center of how funerals are carried out. In Ancient Rome ceremonial undertakers were employed to announce the funeral by wailing loudly. The more actors who were crying aloud at your funeral, the wealthier you were.
It was typically down to women to prepare the dead body. The gender roles began to change during the nineteenth century and for the past 100 years or so it has become a male-dominated industry, especially with the development of funeral directors.
Nowadays funeral directors and morticians dedicate their lives to helping families and communities in giving a proper sendoff to their loved ones. Both morticians and funeral directors study mortuary science attaining at least an associate degree or higher. Their degree is followed by a 1-3 year apprenticeship and obtaining all licenses needed. Their compassion and understanding during what is a difficult time is unrivalled, and that is why in 2008 March 11 was declared as National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day.