Funeral Ceremony – Traditions Across the Globe

Mar 20th 2018

A funeral ceremony means more than just the funeral program, the memorial kits and all the usual things we do; it is a special event where we commemorate and celebrate the life lived by the deceased. In a way, we are marking the day or days when he crosses the bridge from here to the other side (or not, who knows?). For psychiatrists and psychologists, this is the first step of dealing with grief as the family starts to face the reality of their beloved’s death by hearing words of sympathy and condolences.

With that said, it is a must that the ceremony serves exactly that purpose; else, the preparations and the ceremony itself are of no value at all to the deceased or to the grieving family. Families across the globe do this in a million different ways because of different beliefs, traditions and religion. When your family’s tradition does not feel appropriate or you don’t find comfort and solace on it, try the others. You may even find it helpful on your grieving process.

The Pagan Way

Way before Christianism, Islam, Buddhism, etc., our ancestors worshipped the elements of earth, wind, fire and air. When you feel yourself so interconnected and one with nature, why not make the funeral ceremony you’re planning a celebration of life and death the Pagan Way? Incorporate those four elements during the funeral ceremony by putting on all fours in the middle of a circle formed by everyone present during the ceremony. Share moments and stories shared with the deceased; tell everyone what you love most about him. This is, in a way a ‘support group’ therapy session but done during the funeral ceremony.

Traditions of the East

The Japanese Odon in Japan is gaining popularity in the West. Floating paper lanterns are set adrift on rivers or any form of body waters near the birthplace or the graveyard of the deceased. The lanterns have messages and designs meant for the loved one. In the past, this is a three-day event set with fireworks, foods and the like. The mood is more of a celebration of life rather than grieving of the passing of a life.

Beliefs of the West

Private and Home funerals are the most widely used by the people from the West. Being more of a ‘private’ people, they want to keep things as this as personal as possible. There’s not much happenings on this type of funeral ceremony as there’s usually the program followed: a mass where after the priest or an officiating officer gives final blessing to the body of the deceased, family and friends say a line or two about him. Then the burial or cremation comes after the program.

About the Author:

Shiela Mae Parreno is a writer for the Funeral Program where you can find beautiful templates for funeral related printed materials. LIKE us on Facebook to gain access to a free template. Follow us visually on Pinterest.