Traditional South African Funerals
March 7, 2016
Most people organising a funeral are concerned about price above all else. Funeral homes for South African funerals have to cater for a rainbow nation. That is their main concern.
Our country is made up of many different cultures, languages and traditions. To this end funeral homes offer a selection of caskets, coffins, urns and casket vaults to suit different cultures and different budgets.
South African funerals are generally traditional, involving some form of a farewell service with people dressed in black. But there are other people who conduct funerals in a different fashion. Instead of the funeral service lasting for an hour or so they can last for days or even weeks.
Funeral Homes Caters to the Many Traditions and Beliefs
In South Africa we’re not called the rainbow nation for nothing. Our many cultures and beliefs mean that funerals will be celebrated differently. Christians, Jews, Humanists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims all have their own ways to conduct a funeral. Funeral homes in South Africa in these modern times comply to the requirements of each one.
● Zulus. When the head of the household dies, an animal is slaughtered as a gift to the ancestors. A Zulu death attracts friends and family from afar. The slaughtered animals alerts the ancestors that the deceased is coming to join them.
During the burial, there is a lot of singing. After the person is buried, there is a hand washing ceremony, and meat and utshwala besiZulu or beer is had. Death is regarded as another stage of life, and it is important that the correct funeral rites are observed to deter the deceased from returning to and bringing trouble to the living.
● Christians. Christian funerals all share some common characteristics. The funeral is conducted 2, 3 or 4 days after death. Sometimes there is a visitation or wake. The minister leads the funeral with prayers, Bible readings and hymns.
There is often a ceremony at the grave for the family. This can be followed by a memorial service. Some Christian faiths don’t promote cremation, while others permit it. Most South African funerals are followed by a lunch or tea where a lighthearted atmosphere helps the mourners ease into a new lifestyle without the deceased.
● Catholic. Those who are baptized can have a Catholic burial. The Catholic Church funeral is made up of the rites. The vigil is performed at the house of the deceased. The funeral liturgy takes place in church. The ceremony takes place at the graveside. The funeral typically occurs in the church and the family and clergy choose which readings and hymns will be part of the funeral. The casket is usually draped with a white pall as this symbolises Baptism in Christ. Eulogies are traditionally given during the vigil.
South African Funerals – In Tune with the Different Traditions
Most people believe in some form of after-life. Funeral practices and burial customs, in all their uniqueness, are covered by the different funeral homes of South Africa to honour the dead and their families. Everyone wants to give their next of kin a royal send-off according to their unique beliefs. Funeral homes cater to the different beliefs giving peace to the remaining next of kin that their farewells were in keeping with their age-old traditions.
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All info was correct at time of publishing