Let’s Talk Taboo (Over Tea)

February 25, 2019
Dominic Olivo, Experience & Engagement Team

“To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”

This is the primary objective of Death Cafés. No, these are not heavy metal clubs or edgy coffee joints. Death Cafés are gatherings which provide an avenue for people to eat cake, drink tea, and discuss a cultural taboo… death.

These discussions do not boast any agendas, objectives, or reports and have no intention of directing participants to any conclusion or plan of action they should take. Instead, these groups meet to discuss death in a considerate and confidential space, alongside the joys of pastries and good company.

What is it to experience death? What are my fears surrounding death? How do my fears surrounding death dictate how I live my life? We tend to avoid these topics due to established cultural norms, a varied level of fear, and a lack of integration and community surrounding these topics.

In 2011, Jon Underwood decided to help bring these matters to the forefront of consideration and hosted the first Death Café in his home in London. Mr. Underwood adapted the idea from Swiss sociologist Bernard Crettaz, who organized “café mortels.” His goal was to shed light and open social discussion surrounding the concept of death.

These groups became exceedingly popular and important to many across the globe. Since then, Death Cafés have been quickly forming across Europe, North America, and Australia. As of today, over 7,500 Death Cafés have met in 64 countries and that number is continually expanding.

To find out more or learn how to form a Death Café in your community, please see their how-to guide.

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