Background:</b> My MC has grandparents that died in Hesse in the 1980s. It would have been before he was born, but his mother would know the details which he would probably later find out. The grandparents weren't very religious at all but belonged to their area's Protestant church.
I touched on the subject before in one of my other threads, but I've since read a bit more about German funerals and customs and wonder what some of the customs are. I've been told that a lot of people are members of a church and pay their church tax, they'll have a ceremony there before going to a graveyard owned by either the church or city. Cemetery plots are leased and when that's up the headstone's removed. If two people (wife and husband, say) are buried in the same plot with one being buried after the other, that lease time starts all over again.
But now I have a few questions about embalming and funeral homes.
1. When someone died in the 80s, was it common to have a state hospital do the embalming, or did a funeral home do it? Or was it common not to be embalmed at all?
2. Funeral home involvement: Everyone needs to be buried in a coffin (or burned in one if they're cremated in Germany, unlike in some other countries, IIRC), so I assume the funeral home of the family's choice would still provide a coffin?
3. I've also heard that in some areas, the family/close friends will wash and dress the body before the funeral. I assume that might happen more often in more rural areas?
4. Cremation: I heard they're going up in popularity, but would the Catholic church have a problem with it if it was one of their members being cremated?
5. I've heard when the coffin is being buried, the flowers mourners bring will be thrown on top before the soil. Is that accurate?
6. If someone isn't a member of a church or other religious organization, are there humanist options for burials/funerals as well?
Researched: Cremations in Germany, funerals in Germany, funeral rites in Germany via Google and Wikipedia.