Many Americans are unfamiliar with different approaches to mourning. The ritual of a funeral with a cemetery burial or cremation comforts those who have lost a loved one. It also provides a way to pay tribute to the departed.
Because we are used to this formal, solemn grieving process, the burial and funeral traditions of other cultures can be surprising or even shocking. Even so, they come from the same place of grief and remembrance. Keep reading to explore the traditions of a few different cultures.
- One of the better-known cultural burial traditions is Tibet’s sky burial. After a death in Tibet, the remains are separated into pieces, which are transported to a high point on a mountain. Here, birds and other animals dispose of the remains. This might seem odd or alarming to Americans, but it’s in keeping with Tibet’s Buddhist beliefs. Practitioners of Buddhism believe the body is empty after death and the spirit has already departed.
- In Bali, a common tradition is fire burial. The body is ritually cleansed and laid out. Then, mourners leave tributes of food for the deceased. After this, the body is put into a mass grave. When a number of families have gathered, there is a group cremation.
- After the death of a loved one in Southeast Asia, including Thailand and Cambodia, a “spirit house” is erected outside of his or her family’s house. There, the family leaves offerings of food and drink for the deceased.
- Hindu custom indicates that burning is the way to release the soul of the departed. After death, the body is prepared with flowers and new clothing. The deceased is then placed on a funeral pyre, where the chief mourner performs the ceremony and lights the fire.
If there’s a special way in which you wish to pay tribute to your departed loved one, let Chapel of the Chimes of Hayward assist you. With experience in the mourning traditions of many cultures, Chapel of the Chimes is always sensitive to your needs. Call us at (510) 471-3363 or contact us online for more information.
Our recent blogs focused on topics relating to grief and how to plan memorial services. You may also benefit from these helpful resources about mourning and funeral planning.
- FEMA offers these thoughts and suggestions on dealing with bereavement .
- This page has some information about what to expect when you are dealing with grief .
- This website may help you find a support group during a time of grief.
- Take a look at this article about coping with grief and loss .
- You may find this page about planning a funeral service to be helpful.
At Chapel of the Chimes Hayward , we understand that grief can affect each person differently. Contact us online or call (510) 471-3363 to learn more about our services, including estate planning and cemetery lot purchases, or for information about recommended support groups.
Planning a memorial or funeral service for the passing of a loved one can be challenging. After the obituary is written, you should start by notifying family and friends who are out of town to give them enough time to plan for attending the service.
When planning the service, you first need to choose a location. If you’re planning a funeral service, then the location is usually determined by the religious affiliation of the deceased. Funerals are often held at the place of worship they frequented during their life. It’s important to be sure about the relationship between the deceased their religious community. Choosing the wrong congregation could be uncomfortable for friends and family.
If you are planning a memorial service, then think of a place that reflects something about your loved one. It could be a particular location they loved, like a pond or lake where they used to swim or go fishing, for example. Or the memorial could be more loosely associated; consider holding the service in a park or garden for someone who was a nature lover.
Loved ones often choose a particular theme for the service. This could be music, nature, charity, and so on, depending on the passion of the person’s life. Deciding on a subject is best done in consultation with friends and family so the theme resonates with everyone on the same level.
Leading the service
Select a leader who will conduct the service. This will typically be a clergyperson or religious representative, family member, or a friend. In addition to the leader, arrange who will speak at the service—someone close to the deceased who can offer highlights or memories of their life.
When planning a reception after the service, consult with family and close friends about what they would prefer. While some families enjoy the social warmth of a large reception, many prefer a quiet and more intimate reception, limited to family and very close friends only.