Funeral Rites & Traditons
A Hindu funeral typically takes place within one day and sometimes two days after the time of death. No gifts or flowers should be brought to the funeral, although flowers may be sent or brought ahead of time.
Hindu funeral rites take the form of chants, or mantras, which are specially written to be chanted at funerals. The officiant is a Hindu priest, who also presides over all the Hindu funeral rites, leading the family and other mourners in the various Hindu death rituals.
At the cremation, however, it’s typically the eldest son who presides, with the priest overseeing the activities, though different Hindu groups may follow different Hindu funeral rites. Here in the United States, cremation must be performed by licensed crematories. Most make allowances for the cremation ceremony to take place, however, so that Hindu death rituals may be performed on site.
Due to the short time frame of cremation, no embalming is necessary.
After the cremation, there may also be a reception at the family’s home. It may be just for family, so check to see what has been planned for the particular funeral you’ll be attending.