Traditions and Superstitions about funeral and dead people.
- Religious funeral traditions: what should not be done at funerals?
- What are the Christian folk omens and beliefs about dead people and funeral?
- What are the main funeral traditions and omens in Islam?
- What are the funeral traditions and customs in Judaism?
- What are the customs and traditions of funeral in Hinduism?
- Unusual funeral rituals and traditions from all over the world.
Religious funeral traditions: what should not be done at funerals?
The death of a person is an area of the incomprehensible and sacred. All the unknown things are scary, and fears are always associated with prohibitions and taboos. Whatever the origin of these prohibitions, they have long been rooted in folk culture, signs and norms of behavior.
A funeral is a time when even a non-superstitious person tries to observe all funeral rites and traditions, follows signs and beliefs, regardless of how he relates to them.
Death occupies special place in any religion, and Orthodoxy is no exception. The priest conducting the funeral service can talk about what the Orthodox can and cannot do at the funeral. Let's list the basic rules.
You cannot order the last rites for the unbaptized person.
According to the Charter of the Church, it is forbidden to perform the rites of burial and church commemoration of people who are unbaptized, baptized but renounced the faith, those who treated the Church and the faith with mockery or enmity, unbaptized and suicides. For suicides, an exception is possible, but only if the person was mentally ill (which is confirmed by medical certificates) and permission from the diocese was obtained for the last rites.
You cannot bury an icon in a coffin with the deceased.
Some rectors believe that it is wrong to bury the dead person with the icon. Although many Orthodox Christians agree with this, it is important to know that there is no prohibition on the part of the church on this issue, so those who buried their loved ones along with the icons need not worry.
Thus, whether to leave the icon from the coffin after the funeral is a private matter for the loved ones of the deceased. If it serves as a spiritual guide, a connection with this person, a guideline for good wishes for the soul of the deceased, it should not only be preserved, but also regularly obtained for prayer and veneration. If the grief over the loss is so strong that every reminder of the departed causes inconsolable grief, one should not torment oneself, but let go of the memory of the deceased with light heart, putting the icon with the deceased or returning it to the temple.
You cannot put icons in the coffin if cremation is to come. Although the icon is placed in the coffin, it must be removed from the coffin before cremation. Burning icons (even during cremation) is blasphemy and a sin.
What are the Christian folk omens and beliefs about dead people and funeral?
Folk culture contains many rules, prohibitions and restrictions on the subject of funerals. Some of them have good medical reasons; others have long been the rules of funeral etiquette. There are also just superstitions that have long merged with the traditions of funerals. Let's list the main things that cannot be done at a funeral:
The deceased person should not lie in coffin with open eyes. There are countless explanations for this. Someone is afraid that the open eyes of the deceased are looking out for someone to take with them and soon someone else will die. Others believe that the deceased no longer needs external vision for this world: by closing the eyes of the deceased, we help him gain internal vision suitable for the other world. The mouth of the deceased must also be closed.
You should not put the belongings of living people in the coffin. An ancient folk example says: put your thing in a coffin, you will follow the deceased.
You shouldn’t hammer the lid of the coffin in the house of the dead person. Popular wisdom believes that if the coffin lid is hammered in the house of the deceased, then another death awaits his family. Only men who are not kin to the deceased should take out the coffin. It is believed that blood is drawn to blood, and the deceased will take his relatives away with him.
Carrying out the coffin, you must not touch the doorframe. It is a bad omen: it is believed that the person who struck the coffin with the deceased will soon go to the other world himself.
You should not carry the deceased head first. It is believed that at a funeral, the deceased should not be carried head first. He should be carried only with feet forward, otherwise the soul cannot return back. This ancient pagan belief has long come into use and is known, perhaps, to everyone.
There is an omen that when the coffin is carried out with the deceased, the alive should not turn back. Since ancient times, there is a belief that, seeing off the deceased, you cannot look back; otherwise death will come for you or into your house. Leaving the cemetery after the funeral, one must not look back.
The superstitions say that you should not clean the house while the body of the deceased is in it. A popular proverb says: “sweep out the litter in the presence of the dead - take everyone out of the house”.
Pregnant women and children under three years old are not allowed to attend funerals. This prohibition is associated with the idea that a new life is incompatible with death, and the psyche of children is not yet stable enough and the attributes of death can affect them negatively.
You can not come to the funeral in light-colored clothes. In many cultures, the color of mourning is black. It is believed that it is not necessary to wear black, but shades of clothing should be dark: light shades supposedly attract the attention of death.
According to superstitions about funeral and dead men, you should not walk in front of the coffin. According to the omen, the one who walks in front of the coffin can "leave" to the other world after the deceased. At a funeral, you also cannot overrun the hearse - this promises illness or trouble.
Omens state that one should not move towards the funeral procession. If a funeral procession is moving towards you, it is better to stop and wait. The man must take off his headdress. When meeting with a funeral procession, you must not cross the road, since by doing so you cross the road of death, and it may attract it to you.
According to the superstitions, at the cemetery, you must not make noise, swear or argue. The soul of the deceased may not like it, and it will be bad for him in the next world. But the point is, rather, not in belief, but in what was said at the beginning of the article: death is scary, and everyone becomes silent.
As omens state, you should not kiss the deceased person on the lips. Saying goodbye to the late loved one, you need to kiss the corolla on the forehead, but you should not touch the body with your lips. This sign also has a practical side: in this way you can pick up an infection.
According to the superstitions, items should not be taken from the cemetery. You can only take what you have with you, for example, your personal belongings. Everything else, for example, the handkerchiefs and towels used during the funeral, must be left, otherwise you will take death with you.
During a funeral and memorial service, one cannot speak badly about the deceased. Each person has something good and something bad. If you remember the deceased with a bad word, his soul may suffer in the other world. It is better to remember something good about him. Let us recall the well-known proverb: only good (or nothing) can be said about the deceased.
Signs have it that you can't speak during a minute of silence. At this time, it is forbidden not only to speak, but also to make any sounds in general. Going from place to place or digging through things is considered disrespectful to the deceased.
You should not wear the clothes of the deceased. Someone believes that a person should not wear the clothes of the deceased, others, on the contrary, see this as an opportunity to touch a loved one, to be with him at least in this way. It all depends on feelings, personality and mood.
Another thing is mortal clothing - the one that was on the person at the time of death. If the deceased was not immediately taken to the morgue, then the process of decomposition begins in his body. It is dangerous to wear or pass on clothing that was on the body at the time of death and it is best to get rid of it.
The idea that the shoes of the dead person affect his soul was reflected in a number of beliefs. Such, for example, that you should not tie knots on the shoes of the deceased, since his soul will be tied in a knot, and he will appear in the dreams of the living people.
What is the meaning of dreams about dead people? Dreams about our late loved ones should not be ignored as they usually carry tips and important information.
What are the main funeral traditions and omens in Islam?
Most of all, it is striking with what trepidation the relatives and friends of the deceased try to fulfill all the prescriptions of Sharia and bury a loved one like a real Muslim. Starting from the dying state and for a year after the funeral, relatives will diligently perform certain rituals. Many of them may seem unusual to a person not familiar with them, but for true Muslims, rituals are important and sacred.
The Quran calls for preparing for death throughout life, so that at the end of it, one could accept such a difficult test with light heart. Special rituals prescribed in the Shariah begin to be performed while the sick person is still alive.
The dying person is laid on his back with his feet to Mecca, which personifies the path of the soul to the holy place.
It is necessary to help the sufferer cope with thirst by giving a sip of cold water. If possible, drip pomegranate juice or Zam-Zam - sacred water into his mouth.
It is forbidden to cry loudly in Islam, so that the dying person can focus on his last test and not grieve for the worldly. Therefore, compassionate women may not be allowed to the bed or taken out of the house altogether.
Immediately after death, the eyes of the deceased should be closed, his arms and legs straightened, and his chin tied. The body is covered with a cloth; a heavy object is placed on the stomach.
A Muslim funeral should be held as soon as possible, preferably on the same day. Therefore, usually the followers of Islam are not taken to the morgue, but immediately prepared for burial.
Islam has a strict attitude towards purity. If cleansing rituals are not observed, the body of the deceased is considered defiled, and the soul is not ready to meet with Allah.
According to Muslim customs, men and women are buried barefoot, dressed in a simple shirt (kamisa) and wrapped in several pieces of linen. A wealthy and respected Muslim, who has not left any debts behind, is wrapped in expensive fabric. But not in silk: a Muslim man is forbidden to wear silk even during his lifetime.
Muslim burials take place only in the cemetery. Cremation is strictly forbidden in Islam, it is equivalent to burning in hell. If a Muslim cremated the body of a relative, it means that he condemned his loved one to hellish torments.
They lower the deceased into the grave with their feet down, while holding a veil over the women: even after death, no one should see her body. The Imam throws a handful of earth into the grave, recites the sura. Then the burial place is poured with water, the soil is thrown seven times. After the funeral of the Muslim, everyone leaves, but one person remains to read prayers for the soul of the deceased.
A commemoration in Islam is, first of all, a commemoration of the deceased, a prayer for his soul and an opportunity for the family to unite in order to survive the grief more easily. Alcohol is strictly prohibited at the Muslims' commemoration.
What are the funeral traditions and customs in Judaism?
The Jewish worldview, based on the belief in the immortality of the soul and life in the next world, sees death in nothing more than a transition from life in the material world to life in the spiritual world, the world of absolute goodness.
If a person is dying, Viduy is said at his bed - a prayer for the confession of sins, which is read on Yom Kippur, and if the dying person can, he repeats it as well.
Immediately after death, they open all the windows in the house and pour out the water that was in any vessels. The body of the deceased is placed on the floor (legs together and hands on the chest), his eyes are closed and his face is covered with a white cloth. Candles are lit at the head of the bed, and one of the relatives or close friends sits down by the body to read the book of Tegilim.
After the body of the deceased is cleansed, they wrap it in a shroud and cover it with a tallit, and the funeral procession sets off. The deceased should be buried as soon as possible.
According to traditions, one cannot bury a Jewish person on Saturdays and holidays, and only outside Israel on the second day of the holidays is the burial performed. On Saturday or holiday the deceased person is buried at night, immediately after the end of Saturday or holiday.
Before the body is lowered into the grave, the tallit is removed from it, in which it has been wrapped up until now, and the dead person is buried in a shroud. The shroud is the same for everyone - for in the world of truth, everyone is equal, “a nobleman is no different from a poor man” when he comes to the Creator for judgment.
Taking part in the burial is an important commandment, and during the funeral everyone tries to carry the funeral stretcher at least a little and participate in filling the grave with soil. Participation in a funeral is called the "true good" that is given to the dead.
When the participants in the funeral procession return from the cemetery, they should wash their hands: three times for each hand. After washing your hands, it is not customary to wipe them – this is a tradition to prolong the memory of what happened. When leaving the cemetery, the participants in the funeral stop and form two rows, and the mourning men pass between them taking off their shoes.
From the cemetery, the mourners come to the house where the deceased lived. There they will sit shiva - seven days of mourning.
According to superstitions and omens, mirrors and pictures depicting human faces should be covered (it is also customary to cover the TV screen, on which faces appear, too) in the house where the mourners observe mourning.
Those who come to the mourners do not greet them, and when they leave, they do not say good bye. It is also not customary to shake their hands.
By tradition, all the food of this meal should have a round shape: bagels, lentils, eggs - a hint that our whole life is a “revolving circle”, like a carousel, which revolves back to the beginning of the circle. So the present sadness will pass and the days of fun will come again...
What are the customs and traditions of funeral in Hinduism?
In modern India, Hindus make up about 80% of the population (Muslims make up about 15%, Christians - about 2.5%), so we will tell you about Hindu rituals.
Traditional Hindu funerals involve the burning of the deceased (exceptions are made for children under 2 years old, saints and some other special categories) - this supposedly should help the soul to free itself from the mortal shell and provide it with a favorable rebirth in a new body. From time immemorial, Hindus have burned their dead on funeral pyres, using wood as fuel.
The ceremony is led by a representative of the brahmana caste, who may also advise adding certain additional ritual objects to the fire, which should make the ceremony more successful and increase the chance that the deceased will be lucky in the future life. Cremation usually occurs within 24 hours of death, during this time the deceased should (preferably) remain at home.
For the ceremony itself, people are dressed in white (black clothes are considered unacceptable at Hindu funerals), but no special clothing is provided. Under the guidance of a priest, the congregation sing hymns and mantras, after which they make offerings to the gods.
It is permissible to bring flowers to a Hindu funeral, but not food. The fruit is brought to the farewell ceremony, which is usually held 10 to 30 days after the funeral. The body is laid on a fire in an open coffin so that all those present can see it until the moment of burning, but touching the body is highly undesirable (Hindus believe that this defiles the one who touches it). It is also considered indecent to use recording devices during funerals.
After the funeral, the ashes of the deceased are collected in an urn and scattered. It is preferable to do this over the Ganges River. After that, it is assumed that the clergyman will monthly pray for the soul of the departed, and a year after the death, it is expected of the family of the deceased that they will arrange a large celebration.
Representatives of the lower classes (who are the absolute majority) are often forced to resort to loans in order to provide their loved ones with the lowest level of rituals. The fear of being branded as “inattentive for the dead” in society is stronger for them than the fear of falling into debt.
Electric and gas crematoria in India are currently a rarity: there are only a couple of dozen of them, and so far they exist only in large cities. Their spread is hindered by religious considerations: many traditional rituals simply cannot be performed if the body is burned in a crematorium.
When a Hindu dies, the family contacts the priest. Those present recite mantras or turn on mantra recordings. When death is near, the body is transferred to a grass mat on the floor. A small amount of water from the river Ganges is put into the mouth of the dying person. If this is not possible before death, then these actions should be performed immediately after death.
As soon as a person dies, the audience avoids touching the body, since at that moment it is considered unclean. The preparations for the funeral begin immediately. The funeral should take place, according to tradition, as soon as possible by the next sunset or dawn, whichever comes first. A priest he can help in the decision-making process and guide the family to a Hindu funeral home.
Organ donation is acceptable to Hindus as there are no Hindu laws prohibiting the donation of organs or tissues from a deceased person. Embalming is also acceptable in Hinduism.
Traditionally, in India, the body of the deceased is washed by the family and loved ones. For ritual ablution, the head of the deceased must be directed to the south.
Once the body is cleansed, the big toes should be tied together and the hands are placed with the palm in the prayer position, the body should be wrapped in a simple white sheet. If the deceased was a married woman who died before her husband, she is dressed in a red robe.
Upon returning home, all family members wash and change clothes. Then the family gathers at the table. The priest, at the request of the relatives of the deceased, can visit the family and cleanse the house with incense.
The cremation of the deceased marks the beginning of the mourning period, which lasts 13 days. During this time, the family of the deceased must remain at home and receive guests, but some funeral rituals may differ from community to community.
The photograph of the deceased can be displayed in a conspicuous place and decorated with a garland of flowers.
Unusual funeral rituals and traditions from all over the world.
In many cultures, an important aspect of funeral rites is to ensure a safe and comfortable transition of the soul from life to death.
Among Hindus, relatives of the deceased traditionally eat only simple vegetarian food for thirteen days after death. Funeral ceremonies culminate in a feast, the magnitude of which depends on the age and social status of the deceased.
The tradition of feeding the mourners after the funeral is quite common, which testifies to the continuity of life and community solidarity. The food served at such ceremonial gatherings is usually highly symbolic. For example, Jewish mourners returning home from funerals are usually given a hard-boiled egg as a symbol of life.
Among the Chinese in Hong Kong, an all-night memorial mass can be noted, in which both Taoist priests and Buddhist nuns can take part. Part of the Taoist funerals rituals involves invoking the deceased person's favorite food to entice the departed soul to return. At dawn, the Paper House, banknotes and paper clothes are burned for use by the soul in the next life. All those present at the ceremony eat baked meat. Later, the death room is cleaned thoroughly.
China: a bride for the deceased and a stripper. For 2000 years in China there is a tradition - to find a bride for an unmarried deceased man. Chinese relatives believe that he will suffer from loneliness in the afterlife. The ritual was ubiquitous until the 20th century, when communist officials decided to ban Yin Huan as part of harmful superstitions. But even now, there are sometimes incidents of the theft of dead women.
Also in China, the number of guests at the funeral is considered important - this reflects the social status of the deceased. A huge crowd must come. Since the 90s, the tradition has come into vogue to order strippers for funerals, who should beckoning people to burial. It doesn't matter that those who came are completely unfamiliar with the deceased.
Japan: part of the ashes - for the family, part of it - for corporations. In Japan, due to the small amount of land, it is customary to cremate the dead, and not to bury them in coffins. Since the Japanese spend most of their lives at work, and almost do not take days off and sick leave, the work team becomes their second family, like a corporation. Therefore, after cremation, the ashes are divided into two parts: one is buried by relatives in the ancestral grave, and the other - in a corporate cemetery.
Monks from the Japanese province of Yamagita practiced early preparation for mummification in 3 stages from the 11th to the 19th centuries: they reduced fat mass, ate trees, drank poisonous juice, and lay in a grave with a bell to wait for death. This was considered a special spiritual practice, although this phenomenon is not fully substantiated by the scientific world.
Ghana: creative coffins and dances. Many people have recently seen a short video of tough guys in handsome suits carrying a coffin, smiling and dancing. This tradition is practiced in Ghana. The funeral should be fun with dancing. This is how the completion of the earthly journey is celebrated.
The whole community gathers money for the funeral, since the coffin and treats are very expensive – almost the annual earnings of an average Ghanaian.
Coffins are made in interesting shapes, depending on what the deceased was doing: for a musician – there will be a coffin in the shape of a guitar or a violin; for a pastor - in the shape of a Bible; if the dead person was a seller - in the shape of a wallet; and for a fruit picker – the coffin will be in the shape of a pineapple.
Philippines: having a drink with the deceased. In the Philippines, the deceased is exhibited in front of the house for several days. He is dressed in his best clothes, tied in a sitting position to an armchair; a cigarette and a glass of alcohol are inserted into the palm of his hand. People from the community can come to say goodbye to the deceased at any time, say the last words, parting words. When the temperature and animals begin to influence the body too strongly, then it is buried.
In the highlands, coffins with deceased Filipinos are hung on the rocks. It is customary to prepare coffins on your own in advance. High-altitude funerals are held for reasons of saving of sown land, and relatives also believe that their loved ones look after them from a height.
While traveling, itinerant fellow citizens also often encounter merry funerals, where there is dancing, drinking and unusual forms of commemoration. You can take part in this procession - some local residents are interested in a large number of parting people. Perhaps it will help people come to terms with the loss and move on more easily.