By Last Updated: October 18th, 2022

Memorial Releases: Celebrating a Life After Loss

There are many ways to acknowledge and celebrate a life well-lived. Memorial keepsakes, memorial gardens, and cremation fireworks are just a few of the options.

Another popular method is the memorial release, a gift to the deceased and a means of releasing grief and beginning the healing process. The release can take place on behalf of an individual loved one who has passed, or group releases can be arranged for people to celebrate and honor their loved ones together. Read on to discover more about memorial releases for funerals and cremation.

What is the Origin of Memorial Releases?

The origin of memorial releases, specifically the release of doves, stretches back 5,000 years to ancient Egypt. The practice was also taken up in Chinese, European, Greek, and Roman civilizations. The dove releases were used for funerals, weddings, and a number of other important life events. In more modern times, butterflies, balloons, and other items were added to the list of possibilities for memorial releases.

What Are Popular Memorial Release Ideas?

Some popular memorial release ideas are listed below. As you’ll see, there’s a wide variety to choose from and pros and cons to many of them.

memorial release of white doves

Dove Releases

The dove has long been a symbol of purity and peace. In the context of a memorial, they take on an even deeper meaning and can symbolize the release of the loved one from their physical life and the beginning of the grieving and healing process for those who survive them.

Paper Boat Releases

There are a number of advantages to opting for a paper boat release. Friends and family can each create their own paper boat and pen a message to the departed within its folds. Paper is environmentally friendly and the release can happen wherever there’s a body of water, be it an ocean, lake, or river.

Wildflower Release

Spreading wildflower seeds is a wonderful and longer-term means of remembering the departed. The seeding area can be revisited as the flowers grow and, of course, the butterflies that the flowers attract and feed add a hopeful – and environmentally friendly – dimension to the memorial.

Lantern Release

Releasing hot air-filled lanterns as a memorial to a loved one is particularly evocative. There’s no denying the beauty and serenity of watching the warm glow of a lantern as it slowly drifts up and away. This option does have some downsides, though, as the lanterns are a potential fire hazard.

memorial release of butterflies

Butterfly Releases

Like dove releases, butterfly releases can symbolize transition. There are seasonal limitations on these releases since butterflies need warmth to survive. A significant bonus to butterfly releases is the positive environmental effect they have since butterflies are pollinators.

Balloon Release

This is a very popular form of memorial release that, like lantern releases, can create an especially powerful memory to associate with the passing of a loved one. It should be noted, though, that balloon releases can have a negative environmental impact. We’ll discuss that in the next section.

What are Some Things to be Aware of With Memorial Releases?

There are a few downsides to some of the memorial release options that you should be aware of. Lantern and balloon releases, for instance, both have a negative environmental impact. Eventually, the lanterns and balloons will fall back to the ground, causing a mess and potentially endangering wildlife. For those reasons, you may want to consider the more eco-friendly options like paper boat or butterfly releases for funerals.

Are There Eco-Friendly Memorial Release Ideas?

As noted above,  butterfly and wildflower releases are eco-friendly memorial release ideas. Releasing ladybugs is another creative and eco-friendly option as ladybugs eat aphids and other pests that damage or kill beneficial plants. You could also plant a tree in the name of the departed, hold a beeswax candlelight vigil, or, in a variation of paper boat releases, float a mass of flowers or petals onto a stream or some other body of water.

About Opal Cremation

Opal Cremation recognizes that the death of a loved one is an overwhelmingly emotional experience. Our goal is to provide a helping hand to the departed’s family and friends. We offer a number of all-inclusive packages for cremation services which are customizable to the needs of each of our clients. Our dedicated team stands ready to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and arrangements for cremation can be done entirely over the phone. Opal Cremation will guide you through every step of the process.

For more information, you can visit our support center. There, you’ll find a list of frequently asked questions regarding cremation and other helpful information like our Celebration of Life Resources where you can find out more about memorial releases and other options for commemorating your loved one.

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