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This guide explains what happens at a Sikh funeral:

Sikh beliefs about death 

Sikhs believe in transmigration (karma) of the soul and that death is a natural part of life. They believe human life is an opportunity to break the soul’s cycle of reincarnation and return it to Waheguru, the Sikh name for God.  


What happens before a Sikh funeral? 

Arrangements for a Sikh funeral begin immediately after death. Similar to other religions, preparing the body plays an important role; the deceased is usually washed and dressed in clean clothing by close family members prior to the funeral.

The ‘Five Ks’, also referred to as articles of faith, should not be taken off. These include the kangha (a small wooden comb), kirpan knife, kara (iron bracelet), kesh (uncut hair) and a special Sikh garment known as the kachera.


What happens at a Sikh funeral service?

A Sikh funeral service typically takes place at a Gurdwara either before or after the cremation, though it can be held at the family home or at the crematorium. Prayers are often recited during the service, including a community prayer called Ardas.


What happens during a Sikh cremation? 

Traditionally, cremation is preferred for Sikh funerals, though burial is also accepted if the circumstances do not allow for cremation. The ashes of the deceased are usually buried or scattered in a river.


What happens after a Sikh funeral? 

Sikhs do not follow any periods of mourning after the death of a loved one. Instead, there is a either a continuous reading of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which can take three days, or the reading is done over 10 days.



Any of our Funeral Directors can help arrange a Sikh funeral for your loved one but we also have a number which specialise in Asian funerals.

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