From community to commercial: funerals in central Kerala have seen a gradual change in the last few years, turning a solemn grieving process to a professionally organised event.
Mahogany caskets, flower arrangements, food catering and even a live stream for family members abroad, a funeral in Kerala is not the sombre occasion that it once was bringing together community members in mourning, but a thriving commercialised industry. Black or dark coloured flowers have been replaced with white decorations, some funerals now have themes and matching outfits for the loved ones of the deceased, and sorrow, prayers, and condolence messages are now orchestrated by event management professionals. From florists to audio system providers and live instrument players, several different businesses are cashing in on such commercial funerals, and it doesn't just stop there.
Still from a Youtube uploaded funeral service, as streamed by VSquareTV.
Tomb decor options advertised on Red Carpet Events, an event management company in Kerala
[Note: All interviews were conducted in Malayalam and translated to English.]
[with inputs from Krupa Joseph]
Representational feature image via Folomojo