Hindu funeral service
At Co-op Funeral Directors, we cater for all religions and cultures and have experience of accommodating Hindu funeral rituals.
Below is some information on the funeral traditions of the Hinduism faith.
If you have any further questions or require assistance with organising a Hindu cremation service or transportation of your loved one’s body into your home, please contact our team who will be very happy to help.
The beliefs of Hinduism
Hindus believe that although the physical body dies, the soul is immortal. It may pass on to another via the cycle of rebirth – with its incarnation depending on how its previous life was lived (karma). Alternatively, the soul may achieve liberation from reincarnation through the realisation of true reality, to connect back with the supreme spirit – Brahman.
Death is not viewed as an end, but rather a transition, and therefore Hindu funerals tend to be a celebration of life.
Venue for the funeral
Hindus prefer to die at home surrounded by family and their body will remain at home until cremated, usually 24 hours after death.
If death didn’t occur at home, the body will be brought back to enable funeral rites to begin and these are usually conducted by a Hindu priest and the eldest son of the deceased.
Following this, the body will then be taken to the crematorium and traditional Hindu families may wish to go behind the scenes to witness the cremation. It is believed that when the body is burned the soul is released quickly.
Traditional Hindu rituals
Family members will say prayers around the body as soon as possible after the passing.
The body is then washed, anointed with sandalwood and decorated with flower garlands and wooden beads (malas). Scriptures are read from holy texts – the Vedas and Bhagavad Gita.
White traditional Indian dress is usually the preferred dress for mourners.
Following cremation, the ashes of the deceased are scattered into water or placed into a sealed urn to be taken back to India to be sprinkled into the River Ganges.
After the funeral
According to Hindu beliefs, family members of the deceased are polluted by the process of the death – until the soul completes its journey and they are purified by rituals.
A mourning period of 12 days is undertaken, with the family isolating themselves from social engagements. This ends on the thirteenth day with the ritual of Kriya, where riceballs and milk are offered to the deceased to show the gratitude of the family for the life of that person.