Hindu funerals in the UK: what to expect, and how to plan.
What is a Hindu funeral like in the UK?
Hindu funeral rites are about mourning the loss of a loved one, yet the ceremonies can also be hopeful, as this is the moment when the soul is liberated from the body, and moves (via reincarnation) a step closer to Nirvana.
This freeing of the soul comes through fire, which is why Hindus are almost always cremated. It’s not common for a Hindu to be buried. The flames are considered to represent Brahma, the Hindu god of creation.
What do Hindus believe about death?
The Hindu religion originated in India, and has over a billion followers throughout the world. There are many different denominations, and while the traditions and customs may vary between them, there is a central common belief in the reincarnation of the soul. The soul is said to travel through multiple cycles of life and death, until reaching a liberated state of peace and oneness, known as Nirvana.
This is why funerals are such an important part of the religion, and why bodies are almost always cremated. The Antyeshti, or ‘final sacrifice’ of a Hindu cremation is the moment when the soul is given freedom.
How much do Hindu funerals cost in the UK?
Like most funerals in England, the average cost of a Hindu funeral can vary quite a lot from area to area. As might be expected, you will need to budget more in London and the south-east of England compared to other areas. One thing that often cuts down costs for a Hindu funeral is that the funeral ceremony/service, prior to cremation, is usually held at a private home.
Whatever your budget, and no matter what plans you have or what the deceased’s wishes were, at Fenix we can help you along every step of the process. Our personal advisers are here for your questions, thoughts, and even your concerns. We have many years’ experience helping arrange Hindu funeral rituals, and have excellent contacts all across England to help you find exactly what you need. Feel free to contact us – with no obligations at all – to find out more.
How to plan a Hindu funeral in the UK
We pride ourselves with being there for everyone in the UK, no matter what they need to help them through life’s challenging moments of love & loss. We’ve helped many people arrange Hindu death rituals, and our customer reviews are a testament to the relationships we build with the people we advise.
No matter what you need help with, from planning an entire funeral to just arranging flowers or transport, our friendly, supportive advisers are there for you. Get in touch today to find out more.
Hindu funerals in the UK: how they work
The funeral service, often referred to as a wake in the UK, usually takes place in the family home, before the body is moved to the crematorium. Visitors view the body whilst the family say funeral prayers, including mantras and hymns. Some people choose to only have family and close friends at this viewing.
Common elements of Hindu funerals
While funerals may differ depending on individual beliefs and wishes, some common funeral rites and elements of Hindu funeral rituals in the UK include:
- The deceased is displayed in a simple casket, with a garland of flowers or a necklace of wooden beads draped around the neck.
- Their hands will be crossed in prayer, and they may have flowers placed at their feet.
- If the deceased was a woman, she may have turmeric placed on her forehead.
- If she was married and died before her husband, she would be dressed in a red bridal sari. If she was unmarried or a widow, she would be dressed in white or pale colours.
- A deceased man would be dressed in white, traditional clothes, with ash wood or sandalwood placed on his forehead.
- At the end of the ceremony, rice balls, or ‘pinda’ may be placed close to the loved one
- The casket is then transported to the crematorium with deceased feet pointing forward.
How to plan a Hindu funeral in the UK
Planning a Hindu Funeral in the UK can be stressful, which is why it can be useful to work with a trusted funeral director. Here at Fenix, we’ve been working with people for many years to help them plan Hindu funerals.
How long after death is a Hindu funeral held?
Hindu death rituals and cremation ceremonies usually take place within 24 hours of death. If this is the case, it is not necessary for the body to be embalmed. However, in the UK this is not always possible (for example if family and friends need to travel to attend, or if a crematorium is not immediately available).
Hindu funeral etiquette
Hindu funerals are an opportunity for mourners to say goodbye and pay their respects to the deceased. There is also an element of hope, as family and friends wish the soul of the departed well on the journey from this life into the next.
Mourners of other religions are welcome to attend the ceremony. As a guest, you may respectfully view the deceased, taking care not to touch the person who has died. The Hindu funeral prayers are reserved for followers of the Hindu faith, other guests may quietly sit and observe the service.
What to wear to a Hindu Funeral?
Mourners wear white or light colours. White is seen as the colour of purity. This represents the purity of the deceased’s soul and their reincarnation. For this reason, it is not appropriate to wear black to a Hindu Funeral. Women dress modestly, covering arms, chest and knees.
Generally, everyone should wear simple, loose-fitting, modest clothes. It’s best to not wear too much jewellery or a lot of makeup, as calling attention to oneself is not considered appropriate.
What are the traditions around Hindu Funeral Flowers?
Funeral flowers are common at a Hindu funeral, and they are sent directly to the funeral director or family home before the service, rather than taken to it. Common flowers sent include lotus flowers, or yellow and white chrysanthemums. Sometimes, a family might request donations be made to religious institutions or charities, rather than purchasing flowers.
What happens after a Hindu Funeral?
In the UK however, Hindu cremated remains are often scattered in the sea, or a river that flows into the sea. If you’re planning a funeral, keep in mind which rivers in the UK are deemed legal for this purpose. (Three examples are: the River Thames, the Wye, and the Soar).
At Fenix, our personal advisers are here for you to answer questions like this. From planning the entire funeral to just helping take the load off with certain questions or arrangements, we can offer peace of mind, no matter what.