Memorial Service Traditions From Around The World

By: Anderson Funeral Home
Sunday, October 2, 2016

Memorial Service Traditions From Around The World

Learning more about memorial service traditions from around the world can help us to understand how others view death. Although the practices may not be something that you would want in the service you are planning, the understanding of their service traditions may give you some direction.

Left to the Animals – several cultures around the globe leave the body in an area away from the population but open to the animals. It sounds harsh to our culture, but they believe that it gives back to nature. Many of the cultures that practice this tradition live in regions where burial and cremation are not possible, so this custom formed from necessity.

Fire Burial – in some cultures, like the Hindu Isle of Bali, people believe that fire carries the spirit to the next life. The bodies are placed on a float that is paraded through the community and then lit on fire in the center of town.

Out to Sea – the paddle-out ceremony of Hawaii is believed to be a modern tradition started by the surfing community that became popular in the last 100 years. Friends and family will take the cremated remains of the loved one and paddle out to sea. The participants hold hands in a circle and then prayers are shared or stories are shared before the ashes are scattered in the middle of the circle.

Silence – In some African cultures, the family members will stand on one side of the gravesite and everyone else will stand on the other side. The family does not speak during the burial.

A Time of Mourning – many cultures and religions have specific time lines for mourning. In Islam, traditions hold that the family and friends mourn for three days while widows mourn for four lunar months and 10 days. In Hinduism, the mourning period is limited to thirteen days when the body is then cremated. Traditional Jewish funerals are followed by a seven day mourning period for family members.

Jazz it Up – in New Orleans, the funeral procession has fused together the many cultures that make up the community. The mourners are led by a marching band that begins by playing slow, sorrowful tunes and then shifts into an upbeat celebration.

Ash Scattering – the tradition of cremation runs throughout cultures and religions. Many cultures, including the Sikh, gather the ashes to be scattered. The Sikh does not mark the location of the ashes or erect monuments (or headstones) for those that have died because they believe the body is just the shell.

The way that people choose to mourn and memorialize their dead is more diverse than nearly any other common practice. Many of the traditions have come from necessity, including lack of burial space. Some of the traditions have come from more modern practices (like the paddle-out ceremony of Hawaii). All of the memorial service traditions from around the world serve as a way to remember and honor the dead while providing healing and hope to those left behind.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the letters you see in the image.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Traditions

  Traditions As the coming holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are rapidly approaching, it puts us in mind of all the traditions, both easy and hard, that go with those holiday...

Prepaying For Your Funeral and Medicaid "Spend down"

Prepaying For Your Funeral and Medicaid “Spend down” My last several articles have talked about preplanning your funeral and why you would want to do that as a gift to your family.  The more ...

One of 125 Decisions to Make Before you Die

ONE OF 125 DECISIONS TO MAKE BEFORE YOU DIE When you think about the type of funeral you want, do you know if you would have a Traditional Burial, an Immediate Burial, a Traditional Cremation, or ...

Having a Plan in Place for your Funeral

HAVING A PLAN IN PLACE FOR YOUR FUNERAL Planning anything is an important first step in making sure that whatever the event is, it becomes the kind of event you wanted.  Think of the hours th...

Pre-Planning Your Funeral

PREPLANNING YOUR FUNERAL There is one conversation that many people avoid, and that is talking about their funeral.  Would your family know what to do when they get that inevitable phone call...

Keeping in Touch with Family Members After a Funeral

Keeping in Touch with Family Members After a Funeral Keeping in touch with family can be difficult even in ordinary times, but especially after family connections have been severed by a death. Peo...

Funeral Etiquette – Tips for the Reception

Funeral Etiquette – Tips for the Reception It is important for many people to understand what behavior is expected at a funeral reception. Different cultures and different communities may have pra...

The History of a Traditional Irish Wake

The History of a Traditional Irish Wake The traditional Irish Wake has a long history. Although some areas still practice the traditional wake, many are now replacing it with a time of visitation....

What to Expect from a Funeral Home

What to Expect from a Funeral Home The funeral home has become the normal location for visitation, wakes, and even funeral services. The funeral home industry is regulated and that makes it a litt...

Knowing What to Say at a Funeral

Knowing What to Say at a Funeral Having the right words can be a challenge under the best of circumstances, but knowing what to say at a funeral can leave us all struggling at one time or another....