Non Christian Funerals for Hindu, Islamic and Jewish people
For this article on non Christian funerals let us start with Hindu burials.
The dead body of a Hindu person is usually cremated within a day of death. The body is then washed and wrapped in white cloths. A man is cremated in white.
If it is a woman who left a husband behind, she will be buried in red. The deceased will have two of their toes tied with a string and a red mark called the Tilak will be placed on the forehead.
The dead body will then be carried to where it will be cremated, near a river or water and the ceremony will proceed from there.
Non Christian Funerals – Hindu funerals
Family and friends will place the body on a pyre with the deceased’s feet facing southwards. The eldest son, priest or a male mourner will bathe before they lead the ceremony. A eulogy will be given or a hymn recited.
Sesame seed is placed in the mouth of the dead person, and the body and the pyre is then sprinkled with clarified butter.
In terms of Hindu funeral tradition the deceased body and the pyre are sprinkled with clarified butter known as ghee. The pyre is then set on fire. The ash from the cremation is consecrated and delivered to the nearest sea or river.
In some regions, and after the cremation, the deceased’s immediate male relatives will shave their heads and invite friends and relatives, either on the tenth or twelfth day, to share a simple meal in remembrance of the deceased.
In some communities, this day will also mark a day when the needy and the poor are offered food in memory of the dead.
Non Christian Funerals – Islamic funerals
A funeral in Islam is called Janazah and follows certain rites. These rites are subject to interpretation either by region and customs. But in all the cases, the Islamic religious laws which are called the Sharia are preceded by a simple ritual.
This involves bathing the body and shrouding it. This is followed by a prayer called a Salat. In Islamic culture, cremating the body is forbidden. Rather, the burial procedure will take place as quickly as possible and includes bathing the dead body.
The body is enshrouded in white linen cloth. This will usually be followed by a funeral prayer followed by the dead being buried in the grave. The dead body is positioned in such a way that when the deceased’s body is turned to the right side, it will be facing Mecca.
Non Christian Funerals – Jewish funerals
In the Jewish culture, funerals will also follow certain rites, which are also subject to a variation in the different cultures. A funeral in Judaism shares some features with those of Islam.
The Jewish religious laws which are called the Halakha call for the burial of the body. This is preceded by a basic procedure of bathing the body of the deceased and shrouding it. This is accompanied by prayers. Readings will come from the Torah.
In the Jewish religion, cremation of the deceased is forbidden if you are an Orthodox Jew, but the reformed Jews will allow cremation.
Burial rites take place as soon as possible and will include bathing the body and enshrouding it. The Jewish man will be shrouded with what is called a Kittel in Hebrew and a Tallit or shawl if outside the Israeli land.
Women are shrouded in plain white cloth. Watch is kept over the dead body which will be buried in a grave. In some Jewish communities, the dead will be positioned so that their feet face the Jerusalem Temple Mount.
This is in anticipation of the Messiah’s return when the dead will be resurrected again and they are facing the reconstructed Third Temple.
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