The Death Cafe is a unique global social franchise that aims at bringing people together to talk about death, but it’s not as sinister as it sounds. Here, you meet people from different walks of life, some with terminal illnesses, others who have narrowly escaped it, and even put forward some of your questions on the subject that you didn’t think you could ask. By Pallavi Mehra


The founder, Jon Underwood, began the initiative in 2011, at home in the UK when he realised that there were people around the world that are interested in discussing the often-unmentionable subject in a respectful space.  As stated by the group on the website, the objective of a Death Cafe is ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their {finite} lives’. Now spread to over 39 countries, Death Cafes have been held in restaurants, cafes, and not quite surprisingly, in cemeteries as well.



Death Cafe



So what happens at a Death Cafe? You get together as a discussion group and talk about death in an unguarded manner while clearly specifying that it’s not a counselling session. The groups eat scrumptious cake, have refreshing beverages, discuss matters such as similarities between funerals and weddings, read poetry and literature about death, and talk about funny things, like why you shouldn’t take selfies with the dead. People let conversations flow around the subject, without any sort of educational message.



Death Cafe



The platform has expanded to 52 countries with over 5,000 cafes. Recently, the concept made it’s way to India with Dr. Sneha Rooh, a palliative physician, who hosted 21 Death Cafes in Hyderabad, the first one at an cemetery. She’s hosting more Death Cafes in Northeast India and planning a Death Cafe in Mumbai as well.

If you’ve ever wanted to talk about death and can’t find a Death Cafe near you, you can sign up to host your own as well! Follow them here or on their website for updates.