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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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Buddhist Funeral Rites And Their Significances

The core of Buddhist religion, practiced in many countries the world over, comes from the basic teachings of Lord Buddha. This religion involves love & mercy for humankind and recognition of the Ultimate Truth.

Buddhist funerals show these practices of Buddhism. When a Buddhist person passes, to make sure that their soul gets to a higher level in their next life, mandatory rituals should be observed. Prayers are used to invoke the positive energies of the deceased, ensuring his or her deliverance from this life and wishing them the best for their next life.

The first stage in funeral rituals is that of giving the body a traditional bath. After that comes the stage of reading out from religious scriptures by the monks, thereby guiding the soul to the path of spiritual freedom. Then Buddha’s teachings that highlight the significance of kindness and concern are read out loud by the monks. In the meantime, the body is prepared for the last journey. The deceased is generally provided with some coins put in his casket by the family members. This is supposed to help the deceased cross the River of Three Hells to reach his ultimate destination.

The casket is then placed before the altar in the house for the loved ones to pay their final respects. While friends and relatives give condolences, attendees are expected to offer prayers for the deceased. The ceremony is accompanied with chanting of relevant sutras by the monks. Everyone present have to bow at the altar when this chanting is completed. The family members then thank the visitors for sharing their grief by distributing gifts to them.

The family members can decide upon whether to cremate the body or bury it according to their familial customs, once all these important rituals are completed. These rituals are meant to enable the family to alleviate their grief by saying prayers that will elevate the deceased to a higher state of enlightenment and knowledge.

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A Grieving Family Can Derive Great Support From A Good Funeral Director

Funeral directors provide an excellent source of support and help to a family that is reeling under the sorrow of the recent death of a loved one. They take charge of the entire process of organizing the funeral service and take care of every minute detail allowing the family to cope with their loss without facing the troubles of the proceedings.

The job of a funeral director encompasses several responsibilities starting from making arrangements to bring over the deceased’s body from the morgue or the house to its place of burial or cremation. Formalities and all the documentation involved like getting a death certificate, approvals for holding the funeral, organ donation procedures if any, and much more will need to be overseen by the funeral director.

An efficient funeral director also acts as a single contact point for all services necessary for the funeral like managing vendors of flowers, music, food etc. He will be responsible for organising publication of obituaries in newspapers and informing the funeral service venue and programme to expected attendees, who could be the relatives or friends of the deceased.

The funeral director, in consultation with the family, fixes the date and venue for the funeral, and makes arrangements for the memorial service and the last rites. He also arranges for the visitation ceremony before the funeral service wherein close family relatives and friends assemble to offer condolence to the grieving family. The funeral director’s task ends with the final sealing of the deceased person’s grave on the day of funeral.

A funeral director must be compassionate and committed to ensure a smooth and well arranged for funeral service and help the grieving family sail through the toughest time of their lives. Thus, a licensed funeral director who has adequate experience and recommendations must be selected for funeral proceedings. He should be known to perform his task sincerely rather than as an external party, which might charge you a lot and not offer the right type of services.

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The Correct Casket Can Be Your Respect For The Deceased

If a near and dear one has died, it is natural to feel sorrow and grief and unable to come to terms with the irreparable loss and the void that his or her death has created. However, making appropriate arrangements for the funeral still requires to be attended to and this will need the selection of an appropriate casket.

It is extremely hard to be able to concentrate on the quality, price and other factors to be considered in a casket that you intend to purchase during this emotionally tiring and traumatic time. In case the deceased had already made his or her choice known for the casket, or if a particular type of casket is a cultural requirement for the departed person’s family then this job becomes much easier.

Caskets can be of many shapes, sizes and designs, with rate tags varying accordingly. They are usually divided into two key categories, funeral caskets and burial caskets. Burial caskets are generally created only for the aim of funeral rites while funeral caskets allow a final view of the deceased to the loved ones.

Caskets come in different materials, like wood, metal, fibre glass, and marble. In previous times, wooden caskets were preferred and choice from different types of wood like mahogany, maple, oak etc could be made. Polished perfectly, wooden caskets are of high quality and they look classy with a shiny feel, but their rates are also usually higher. In comparison, metal caskets, which are generally cheaper, come in copper, bronze, and stainless steel and are available in an array of colours and designs.

Environment friendly material based caskets are also getting popular these days with so much stress on protecting the planet, particularly among the environmentally aware people. As the basic materials used are completely biodegradable, these caskets cause least damage to the planet. These could be your last tribute to the deceased if he or she believed strongly in safeguarding the environment.

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Suggestions For Preparation Of A Personal Funeral Service

Death is one of the harsh realities of our existence that we are least prepared for. Honouring the dead is a very old practice that has been constantly changing to suit the present times. Traditionally, the funeral service used to take place at the church with singing of solemn hymns and a eulogy. But, this practice is changing these days, with a lot of people wanting to organise a more personal funeral service for their loved one.

Organizing a funeral could be a very painful and hard task, especially right after the death of a relative or a friend. A general myth that a funeral service is a legal requirement is far from truth as no law makes it mandatory to hold a funeral service. Secondly, a lot of people think that a service has to be conducted in a church, which is also a misconception. Conventionally these services might have been organized in churches but with the trends changing and a drive to make things more personal, many funeral services are being held within the residence of the deceased these days. Thirdly, such services do not require the presence of either the pastor or the casket and can be easily held without either.

However, keeping in line with the idea of a personal funeral service, a lot of thought should be given to the wishes of the dead person. The selection of music should be from among the personal choices of the deceased, though it is preferable to have soft music. You could choose from a live performance or playing pre recorded music.

Some families prefer display of the personal items of the dead person in a collage, for the persons assembled to reflect on his or her life. Another crucial aspect in any funeral service is an address, whether as a poem, a song or even a speech describing the deceased.

Lastly, it is advisable to present the people gathered for the funeral with some mementoes that help them keep the memories of the departed alive for years.

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