Transition Rituals

A faith-by-faith guide to rites for the deceased

 

Continued from page 1

Eastern Orthodox
Belief about death
Orthodox Christians believe believe death is a necessary consequence of human life, due to original sin. Death is necessary to achieve everlasting life.

Funeral practices
The Eastern Orthodox hold a special vigil over the dead called the parastasis or panikhida, as a time of contemplation on death. The funeral service includes hymns, chants, and bible readings. Burial is preferred but the Orthodox Church allows cremation if the law of the country requires it.

Mourning rituals
Orthodox Christians pray special prayers for the departed asking God to have mercy on the souls of the dead.

More online:
  • Parastasis Prayer Vigil
  • Eastern Orthodox Funeral Service

  • Eastern Orthodox Cremation Service
  • Prayers for the Departed

    Hinduism
    Belief about death
    Hindus believe death is part of the continuing cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. The soul of the dead transfers to another body after death.

    Funeral practices
    Hindus generally cremate their dead. In preparation for cremation, the body is bathed, laid in a coffin, adorned with sandalwood paste and garlands, and wrapped in white cloth. In the cremation ceremony, the body is carried three times counterclockwise around the pyre, then placed upon it. The chief mourner hits the cremation switch.

    Mourning rituals
    The days of mourning are considered a time of ritual impurity. Mourners cover all religious pictures in the house and do not attend festivals or visit swamis or take part in marriage ceremonies. Mourning period length varies, though Hindu scriptures caution against excessive mourning.

    More on Beliefnet:
  • Hindu Rites of Transition

    Islam
    Belief about death
    Muslims believe that there is another world after death for which the believer should prepare during their lives on earth.

    Funeral practices
    The corpse is bathed, wrapped in a plain cloth (called a kafan). The deceased is buried in the ground after the funeral service. Only burial in the ground is allowed according to Shari' ah (Islamic law).

    Mourning rituals
    Mourners gather and offer Janazah, prayers for the forgiveness of the deceased. Once the body is buried, Muslim mourners offer one final Janazah prayer.

    More online:
  • Understanding Islam

    Judaism
    Belief about death
    Jews believe death in this life will eventually lead to resurrection in a world to come.

    Funeral practices
    The dead are buried as soon as possible. The body is washed to purify it, dressed in a plain linen shroud. The casket, a plain wooden coffin, remains closed after the body is dressed. The body is watched over from time of death till burial, as a sign of respect. The kaddish, a prayer in honor of the dead, is said.

    Mourning rituals
    There is an intense seven-day mourning period, called shiva, following the burial. Mourners traditionally rent their garments as a symbol of grief. Today, people often wear a black ribbon instead of tearing their clothes. Mourners also cover mirrors, sit on low stools, and avoid wearing leather. The full mourning period lasts a year, after which mourners observe the dead's yahrzeit, or yearly anniversary of the death.

    More on Beliefnet:
  • The Ties That Bind
  • Jewish Burial Societies

    More online:
  • The Jewish Life Cycle: Death

    Continued on page 3: »

  • comments powered by Disqus

    Advertisement

    Advertisement

    Advertisement

    DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook