Scots Prefer Hymns for Funerals


By Cara Sulieman

SCOTS are sticking to tradition and choosing hymns over more popular songs for their funerals.

In the rest of the UK, contemporary songs are the most requested for a loved-one’s funeral.

But in Scotland, over half of the ceremonies are accompanied by hymns rather than classical music or pop songs.

Only 36 per cent of funerals use contemporary tunes, and a measly nine per cent are accompanied by classical music.

My Way

Frank Sinatra is still the most popular contemporary song for funerals across the UK.

‘My Way’ is the most requested song, according to a new survey by Cooperative Funeralcare.

But Westlife, Alexander Burke and other pop singers are chasing him up the chart.

Hallelujah, sung by the X Factor winner has peaked at number 26 in the survey, which was carried out only two months after her TV win.

The Lord is my Shepard

But the most popular contemporary, classical and hymn remain unchanged, four years after the last survey on the subject.

The Lord is My Shepard is still the most comforting hymn for a funeral, and Elgar’s Nimrod from Enigma Variations is the most requested classical music.

But there are also a few odd songs that popped up in the poll – with some people choosing to be sent off to the dulcet tones of the Emmerdale, Top Gear or Only Fools and Horses theme tunes.

Over a quarter of Co-operative funeral homes received strange requests like these – with one person even selecting So Long, Farewell from the Sound of Music for their loved one.

Not appropriate

But some people weren’t so lucky and didn’t get away with their strange requests – one in 10 music requests were rejected, mainly because the clergy didn’t think they were appropriate.

The Co-operative Funeralcare’s Lorinda Sheasby said that the choice of song is an important part of the funeral for the bereaved family.

She said: “Today’s tear-jerking chart topper is extremely unlikely to be tomorrow’s funeral classic but it’s quite possible it will figure highly in the months or even years to come.”

“A lot of people still choose non-religious funerals, so they incline towards contemporary songs with which they closely identify.

“Our aim is to make more people aware of the options and choices open to them, so that ultimately the funeral service reflects the life of the individual, which is of great benefit to the bereaved.”

Church of Scotland

Earlier this year, the Church of Scotland slammed mourners for choosing cheesy songs for funerals.

They said it was part of an “unhealthy” denial of death, and that hymns should be chosen as they are more comforting.

Reverend Ron Ferguson said: “This is not healthy. Such songs might seem a good idea down at the pub, but may not feel so appropriate at the actual ceremony.

“Something more traditional, with poetic words which speak of a transcendent love which knows no boundaries to help to bear the true weight of the occasion and bring solace to the grieving congregation.”

The survey was carried out at almost 250 funeral homes that carry out more than 30,000 a year between them.