This guide explains what happens at a Hindu funeral:
Hindus believe in the rebirth and reincarnation of souls. According to Hinduism, when the physical body dies, the soul reincarnates into another life force.
Whilst Hindus mourn the passing of their loved one, they also celebrate the onward journey of the soul to the next incarnation which they see as a step closer to Nirvana (Heaven).
Hindus are told to avoid any unnecessary touching of the deceased, as it seen as impure in their religion. Traditionally, the funeral should take place as soon as possible. In preparation, the body is usually washed by family members and close friends before the viewing of the deceased can take place.
The person who has died is generally displayed in a simple cask with flowers placed at their feet. Family and friends usually gather around the casket to recite hymns or mantras. Before the deceased is cremated, many Hindus place ‘pinda’ (rice balls) close to their loved one.
Historically, all Hindu cremations would take place on the Ganges River in India, though it is now accepted to be cremated locally.
Traditionally, the ashes of the deceased should be immersed in the Ganges River, though other rivers worldwide are becoming widely accepted.
Mourning usually lasts for 13 days after a Hindu funeral. During this time, the deceased’s family receive visitors at their home, with a photograph of the person who has passed away prominently displayed alongside a garland of flowers.
One year after the death, the family of the deceased will observe a memorial event called ‘sraddha’, paying homage to their loved one.
Source: The Real Hindu Website
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