What are the common rituals linked with the death of a person in India?

India is a land of different religions and diverse cultures and Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs are the four major castes found here. All these follow certain customary rituals associated with death. Here's the list:


The funeral is performed at the burning ghats on the shores of the sacred river like Ganga or any other sacred river or at 'Samshaan'. The dead body is placed in a large pile of wood, then the eldest son recites the prayers and lights the fire. Incense and ghee are poured into the flames. Later, the ashes of the dead are sprinkled on water. After the funeral, the widow or widower wears white colored clothes or light colored clothes as a sign of mourning.

The close family may mourn for a period of twelve days following which the reincarnation ends with the ritual of Kriya. After this, the mourners can continue with their normal lives. But, every year after the death Shraddha which is a ceremony in which food is offered to the poor and needy in memory of departed ancestors.


In Sikh religion, the body of the deceased Sikh is bathed and attired in clean clothing. The dead is adorned with all 5 main symbols of Sikhs- Kachhera, Kanga, Kara, Kes, and Kirpan. The final prayer of the day is sung and the offering of ‘Ardas’ takes place. Both may be performed prior to cremation, the scattering of ashes, or otherwise disposing of remains.


In Islam, the mourning period lasts for 40 days, and the family of the deceased wears black at this time. An Imam says a prayer for the deceased, then mourners accompany the body to the burial site. The widow of the deceased traditionally wears black for one year.


After one's passing, the body is washed for burial. The funeral takes place about a week after the death. In Protestant funerals, a minister reads a passage from the Bible. The opening prayer is followed by a sermon, a prayer of farewell and the lowering of the coffin. The Catholic service includes an introductory rite, prayers and a blessing. At the end of the funeral, the coffin is taken out of the church to the cemetery, where the final committal service takes place.

Thus, be it any religion of India, offering a eulogy to the deceased is a part of the funeral. The eulogy may be in the form of a hymn or direct address to the dead.