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Common Rituals And Traditions Of Funerals

Funerals around the world are marked by a lot of traditions and rituals. Funeral provides a chance to the relatives of the deceased person to pray for him and come to terms with their loss and sorrow.

Church rules govern funeral rites in Christian communities. However, there are over 200 different Christian denominations and communities that have their own different customs and rituals relating to the funeral ceremony.

The first significant tradition in a Christian funeral is the wake, which is conducted before the actual funeral ceremony and where the dead is watched the whole night and psalms are read to pray for the dead. According to present day practices, this is the stage where friends and family members see the dead person for the last time and offer their heartfelt respects. The body is either kept at the house or at Church and the time of paying visit is decided according to prescribed norms. In olden days, the dead person was sought to be absolved of his sins of his earthly existence by performing the ritual of absolution after wake. This included placing a cross on the deceased’s body and offertory in the casket, where gifts offered were kept.

Next comes the main ceremony, which starts with the transportation of the deceased’s body to the Church in a coach and is followed by recitation of hymns and prayers from the Bible. Then, the priest requests a friend or family member to give a public eulogy in honour of the deceased. Some of the communities follow this by a ritual of tolling of the bells, marking the end of the ceremony. After the funeral service, the casket is carried to the burial site where a burial service is held before the act of burial.

Lastly, the family members arrange for a lunch for everyone who has attended the funeral. The prime aim of this custom of lunch is to share the grief of the bereaved family and help them cope with the irreparable loss.

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Professional Skill And Traits Needed For An Undertaker’s Profession

Undertakers, also called Funeral Directors, are experts who organize activities and ceremonies related to funerals. To achieve success in this profession the undertaker performing these duties should possess certain important and unique skills and attributes.

Since an undertaker may be required at any time of day or night, the person venturing into this profession must be willing to be on call at all hours. He must be prepared to work away from his office as the job requires him to be available at the place where he is required.

The undertaker should be able to respect the feelings of customers, listen and comprehend their requirements and interact lucidly. People from different cultures, sects and ethnicities as well as those of any age will have to be managed by him with equal ease. He must be compassionate and should empathize with others. However, he should be mentally strong and not get carried away by other people’s sorrow, so that he can provide emotional support to others.

As an undertaker, a person must project a dignified and serene personality, while taking care that his behaviour doesn’t intensify the sorrow of the grieving family members and relatives.

Undertakers should have vast knowledge and deep respect for the religious sentiments and beliefs of different cultures and ethnic groups. They must also be aware of the funeral rituals and burial customs of various sects.

A good undertaker will naturally possess good organizational skills and managerial abilities. A number of services will have to be organized by the undertaker and this will need good coordination and managerial ability from the undertaker.

As the undertaker will shoulder the responsibility of getting all clearances and following all regulations related to the event, he will need to thoroughly know such procedures and legal matters. He should also be conscious of the official procedures to be followed for obtaining death certificates, insurance claims etc.

Lastly, an undertaker must make sure that his driver’s licence is updated and that he can drive the hearse or funeral limousines during the service.

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