Funeral traditions are observed in almost every culture and religion. Personal beliefs and religion determine the way a person’s funeral is conducted. Although, the methods may be different, but the underlying principle remains the same. Funeral is a way of expressing our last goodbye to the departed.
Research suggests that funeral ceremonies were practiced even before Homo Sapiens or human beings formed modern civilizations. Over the years, this practice has taken shape in different forms and is deeply rooted in every culture.
In India, once a person dies, he or she is cremated. The act of cremation is preceded by an elaborate set of rites and rituals. Hindus believe that once the body is burnt, the soul is released from this mortal world. A lot of Hindus store the cremains in cremation urns and scatter the ashes at holy places.
In the western world, the dead body is embalmed and put on display in a coffin for visitation. During this period, friends and family visit to pay their last respect. Prayers are offered, hymns sung along with a touching eulogy by a close member of the family. After that, the deceased is taking for burial.
In Islamic culture, the deceased person’s body is cleansed and prepared for burial, as soon as its possible. Community members gather and offer prayers for forgiveness. Only men are allowed to attend the burial service. A three day mourning period is observed in honor of the deceased.
Tibetans have a unique way of disposing of the dead. Interestingly, they believe in a sky burial for the deceased. The dead body is placed in a sitting position for 24 hours and prayers are chanted by a Lama. Once the prayer ceremony is over, they offer the dead body to the vultures.
While death is a common leveler, its aftermath is both celebrated and mourned in every culture, no matter whether the deceased is buried or cremated.
However, in the recent years more and more people are going for cremation. The ashes then are stored in beautiful cremation urns, symbolizing a mark of respect for the departed.