Daily: More than 200 laid to rest in Finland without mourners in 2016

Fewer people have been showing up to mourn the dead at funerals across the country, according to new data from the National Church Council.

Image: Wasim Khuzam / Yle

More than 200 people were laid to rest in Finland last year without a single mourner to send them on their final journey, according to the daily Uutissuomalainen.

The finding comes from fresh data from the National Church Council, which has compiled statistics on the number of mourners who attended funeral services in 2016. Previously, parishes did not record funeral participants and it was not known how many people were buried without any mourners in attendance.

According to the data, the vast majority of people who were buried without well-wishers in attendance lived in Finland’s largest cities and in the capital region. The chapel in Helsinki’s Oulunkylä district reserves Thursday mornings for deceased persons who have no mourners to attend their funerals.

In 2017, roughly 44,000 members of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church died. Many of them had no family or friends attending their funeral services. But overall, all funerals had fewer numbers of mourners. Back in 1999 on average 43 people attended church services for their deceased friends or relatives, compared to 36 in 2017.

Last year, nearly 3,000 funerals had fewer than 10 mourners, some of whom were parish workers. On the other hand, nearly 8,000 burials had between 10 and 20 participants.