Death Cafes, discover what are they all about.
There are 1360 Death Cafes in the UK. Worldwide, there are a total of 6670 in more than 50 different countries.
What is a Death Cafe?
Death Cafes aim to 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'.
They achieve this by providing the occasion for a group of people to get together. Over a cup of tea, with a slice of cake, they talk about anything related to death. Death cafes take place in coffee shops, restaurants, pubs or in a private home.
Who started the Death Cafe movement in the UK?
John Underwood held the first Death Cafe in his home in 2011. The idea has its roots in the Cafe Mortel movement, originally from Switzerland. He felt that people in the west avoid talking about death. In so doing, they relinquished control of their own demise.
What happens in a Death Cafe?
Death Cafes normally last about an hour and have no set agenda. There are no specific themes or objectives. They do, however, have some basic core principals.
- Participants must listen respectfully to whoever is speaking
- Other people's sensitivities must be considered at all times
- Whatever anyone says should be considered as personal and confidential
- No-one should try to guide or influence anyone
Frequently the participants are initially total strangers. The organiser starts out by introducing himself and welcoming everyone. Each person can then present themselves and say why they are there. Then, the conversation naturally evolves. Any death-related subject can come up.
Who attends Death Cafes?
Anyone can participate in a Death Cafe as long as they observe the above principals. Frequently people who are facing their own death or that of a loved one attend. Often though, there are young and middle-aged people who just want the opportunity to talk about death.
Why talk about death?
Death Cafes give people the chance to talk about death in a secure and impartial setting. But why do they want to? Death is a taboo subject. Although death is something that we will all experience, talking about it is very hard. However, it can be very beneficial, as it can-
- Reduce fear and anxiety about death
- Allow people to make an end of life plan
- Permit people to plan their own funeral
- Give people the chance to make new friends and alliances
- Encourage clear communication about a vital subject
Interested in hosting or attending a Death Cafe?
Find out how here.