At a time of grief and mourning, funeral rituals offer comfort to many individuals. While each grieving process is unique, many find comfort in participating in rituals which honor their deceased loved one while offering safe space for expression of sorrow and reassuring hope for the future.
Global cultures have different traditions when it comes to funerals and dealing with death and grief. While some traditions resemble Western ones, more families are opting for nontraditional methods that allow them to be creative with memorializing loved ones in ways that reflect who they were as individuals.
Traditional funerals are in decline. More and more people are opting out of attending two days of visiting, religious services and burial of an embalmed body in an elaborate casket that can cost as much as a used car, instead opting to hold memorial services without their remains present – also referred to as Celebration of Life ceremonies or Life Ceremonies.
At funeral ceremonies, family members may read poetry or stories about the deceased and may present photos that illustrate what would have made him/her so unique as individuals reminiscing about life before death would enjoy viewing. All attendees can participate by sharing memories about loved ones while providing condolences to survivors.
No matter the type of funeral service chosen, it is crucial that the body be interred or cremated so there will be a final resting place for its remains. Following the service, family will often purchase grave markers or headstones to remember their loved one and acquire a death certificate, write an obituary and take care of any legal obligations necessary.
People often mistake the difference between a funeral and memorial service for two distinct events honoring a deceased individual, although both honoring their life. Each has different purposes and are bound up with different traditions: funerals are typically more rooted in tradition while memorial services often reflect changing social values and perspectives.
Some cultures provide an explicit teaching about life after death, believing that souls live on in some form after they pass from this realm and can find comfort with loved ones in better places or become part of God himself.
The Bible teaches that, at the end of time, our deceased will rise again and will be judged according to their actions in life. Burial or cremation options exist depending on one’s faith. Bodies typically fall under one of two categories – typically being wrapped in shrouds for burial or an alternative option such as using a sarcophagus in other cultures may also be utilized.
Religions generally believe that the soul or atman of those who die will either reincarnate into another form or achieve moksha (liberation). When placing their bodies on a funeral pyre, prayers such as: “O all-consuming Fire, consume me completely and raise me from my ashes!” are spoken. In Hinduism this type of funeral service is known as an Antyesti Samskaram or Antima Samskaram funeral procession.