Funerals vary according to traditions and cultures a person has. It is actually one of the reasons why paying respect to the deceased has to be thought carefully to avoid unintended offensive gestures. While in most cases, sending funeral flowers is what is observe but need it to be known that not all would accept this norm as proper and appropriate. There are cases where this would not be applicable. One funeral culture on the list that one has to be familiar with is the Hindu’s. Their culture has a different view on funeral flowers and you might want to take a look first of what we have prepared before you send those flowers to a Hindu funeral.
The variance of Hindu beliefs is quite wide and is often dependent on one’s relationship to the deceased and family. This particular religion believes in the teachings that when a person dies, its soul passes to a different body. In other words, it gets reincarnated and their funerals are entirely based on that foundation. That is why Hindus have a common set of funerals they always follow.
Their beliefs can be categorized into three stages. This seems to be strictly followed as their tradition specifically dictates it.
- Wake – This is the first stage Hindus follow in observing their funerals. Just before they moved the body to the place of cremation, Hindus hold a wake in the family’s home first. This usually takes only a day or two from the time of death. Sending flowers during this stage is big no. Put that in mind.
- Cremation – Then there is the stage of cremation. After the wake, Hindus remove the body and bring it to the place of cremation.
- Shraddha – After the cremation of the body, the ashes of the deceased is brought back to the family’s home again. This time they spend another 10 days to perform the “Shraddha” ceremony. Be familiar with the exclusivity that they want during this stage. In this stage, it is usually only for the family. It is one of the many reasons why you need to plan your visit to either one of the funerals coming from this religion.
What is their take on cremation?
Unlike what Muslims and Christians do, Hindus believe in the norm of cremating the body of the deceased. Cremation is observed by Hindus on their belief that it is the fastest way to aiding the soul to escape its physical body. So there is no burying of dead bodies on the grounds for Hindus.
Appropriate Ways to Follow in a Hindu Funeral
Here we have listed a number of appropriate ways to follow in case you attend a Hindu funeral. Be knowledgeable enough on how one should act during a Hindu funeral. Make sure to have the required sensitivity in extending your sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family. Any offensive manners are not on their list right now. Bring the comfort and support they deserve during these emotional moments.
Family and friends gather for this purpose, the family has a handful of things to do already. Do something to minimize the things they have in their hands. One sure way of doing it is to bring them food and meals that their family and friends can eat during the funeral. Hindus would have a higher chance of expecting you opting to have this option. The most common that Hindus receive in their funerals is a basket of fruits. Check with someone who knows about their culture also on what type of one can bring in their funerals. Traditionally speaking, they prefer to have anything except those with onions and garlic.
No matter how lovely your flowers would appear on their funerals, this is not a case applicable to their situation. Sending of flowers to the grieving family is not a custom they follow. One possible reason why this is not appropriate is the part of giving these flowers a vital role in their funerals. It appears that they adorn the body of the deceased with flowers before holding funerals. To bring more flowers would be unnecessary and distracting. Avoid them from having those feelings as they do want any negative karma during these times. However, there are occurrences where flowers are being accepted and welcomed but most of the time it is not.
Though not really a custom that is in the DNA of Hindus, there are Hindu families who would encourage you to do this. To give to religious organizations or giving of alms and offerings serve as a tribute that creates good karma to make sure that Hindu’s as part of one’s preparation before getting reincarnated.
- Dress – Do not wear black colored clothes during these times. It is their custom that family and friends wear white but no head covering on these occasions. Women are also mandated to cover their arms and knees in holding these events. Though wearing jewelry and shoes showing toes remains acceptable for now. There is just a limitation on this. Just avoid showing off whatever you have during these situations.
- Offering Condolences – Physical visits are the most preferred for Hindus when one wants to show their respect and sympathies. But this does not already mean that you have to force yourself on coming, to call them and inform them that you are with them in this burden stays okay.
- Participation – The body of the deceased is expected to be displayed on an open casket during their funerals. It is for viewing primarily. Take note though that after talking the bereaved family of your condolences, you need to go back to your seat and observe the silence they desire. For non-Hindus, this is the only time they are allowed to attend the funeral. Plan it ahead in case.