What Are Funerals All About?
What is it about funerals and what do they mean? A funeral is a solemn ceremony for saying goodbye to a loved one who has passed away.
A funeral is about remembering the life of the deceased. We show our respect by attending the funeral of a family member or friend who has died.
It is also a time of remembering, visiting the past and reflecting on life and what the future now holds. Depending on what culture you are or what religion you are, the funeral will comprise of different functions and actions.
About Funerals – A Basic Concept
Usually, there will some words said about the person, some prayers and even some rituals undertaken in honour of the deceased. Usually the same everywhere with funerals is that everyone mourns over the deceased, offering support and sympathy to the sad families that have been left behind.
About Funerals – Different religions, different funerals, different rituals
About funerals, at least some of them, there might be an air of celebration because if you are a follower of the Bible and Jesus Christ and the dead person followed Jesus Christ, then there could well be rejoicing. This is because the deceased will enjoy an afterlife in Heaven where fellow believers will meet him or her one day.
With different cultures and religions, what is very sacred to one culture might be completely taboo with another culture. Sometimes at a funeral ceremony the body of the deceased is not at the ceremony. This is usually called a memorial service. That is because the deceased might have requested that he or she be cremated, in which case there will be a memorial service to remember the life of the deceased.
About Funerals – Word Derivation
The word ‘funeral’ actually stems from the Latin word Funus. The word had a few meanings which included the funeral rites as well as the corpse. Funeral rites go back thousands of years and there is evidence in the Iraqi cave known as Shanidar or the Welsh Pontnewydd Cave, plus other sites across Europe and in the East.
Archaeologists discovered Neanderthal skeletons with layers of flower pollen. It is interpreted that the Neanderthals had their religious beliefs. The dead were probably buried deliberately, but rodents could have dug around the corpses and brought in the appearance of the flowers and pollen.
About Funerals – Rituals and colours will be Different
People hold funerals in different ways across the world. For instance, some religions will forbid embalming. Others prohibit cremation. Some wrap the corpses in cotton or silk and others believe that a body must be buried within an hour from the time and place of death.
Buddhists funerals mark the change over from one life to the next life. Christians used to prefer their deceased being buried, but cremations these days are becoming much more common. There are some churches however that still forbid this practice because of their belief in the resurrection of the body.
About Funerals – Hindu Rites
In the Hindu culture, a deceased adult Hindu will be mourned with a cremation but a child is usually buried. With the Hindu people, a dead body is cremated in as little as a day after death. The body is washed and wrapped in white cloth if the deceased is a man.
If the person is a woman and her husband is still alive, she will be buried in red. The deceased usually has two toes tied together with string. A red mark called the ‘Tilak’ is placed on the forehead.
People around the world mourn their dead in different ways and give recognition to this event in a variety of rites ad ceremonies which can be held in a solemn or joyous way.
However, no matter how you perceive death to be, the end of everything or the beginning of another life, we all go on the same journey ultimately. Have you planned for it?
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