Background Communities play a key role in supporting members through difficult times, yet bereaved individuals often experience social isolation. Palliative care services should make efforts to develop community capacity to support bereaved people. Rituals of remembrance build solidarity. There are indications that many people would like to talk more openly about dead loved ones but are restricted by cultural norms.
Aim To create a time of year when remembering dead loved ones is socially accepted and supported within mainstream culture.
Methods To Absent Friends, a People’s Festival of Storytelling and Remembrance was held across Scotland, 1–7 November 2014. Efforts were made to promote the festival, but not to control the form of people’s participation.
Results A wide variety of events took place including community-based activities and high profile participation, for example from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra quartet, and the Scottish Rugby Union.
Conclusion A public festival in celebration and remembrance of dead loved ones has resonance for many people in Scotland and should grow in future years.
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