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Happy Traditions

The end of your life should be a celebration of it.

Photo of Karyn Keanaaina
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

The focus of this idea is that death is merely the next step in your existence. It centers on a celebration of life, instead of focusing on the negative things surrounding death. This idea not only helps you to not fear death, but also inspires you to embrace your life and live it to the fullest.

I'm a Polynesian, specifically Hawaiian. There are many Polynesian traditions surrounding death and the end-of-life. However, our family and cultural traditions focus on celebrating life. We do have a mourning portion to the celebrations, because sorrow can be cleansing. But the main focus of the funeral and other attached events is remembering their vibrance, love, and the things they did in their lifetime. It's like a giant party where everyone comes together to celebrate being alive. This celebration is a stark contrast to funerals I have been to that are not Polynesian--where people focus on their personal connection, and the fact that they no longer have access to that. We believe that death is merely a step into the next plane of your existence.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I would like to partner with funeral homes in the area and propose that they offer a celebration of life that is lively and boisterous. There can be somber and reflection time for people, but instead of focusing on what is missing, they can reflect on how they can use this experience to inspire them to be better.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I think the hardest thing for a lot of people to grasp is the belief that there is something beyond our lives now. A lot of people don't believe in an afterlife, and I think that is the greatest source for sorrow at funerals...facing the fact that you will never see them again. In Hawaiian culture, we believe that our ancestors watch over us and inspire us to follow our life path.

Tell us about your work experience:

I work in marketing and design. I also am a musician and party planner.

This idea emerged from

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Photo of Karyn

Thanks @Rebeca! I will definitely do that.

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