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The Funeral Practices of 5 Different Religions December 27, 2017

Pearl City, Ewa
The Funeral Practices of 5 Different Religions, Ewa, Hawaii

No matter your background, everyone takes the time to recognize the lives of lost loved ones. Each religion has its customs and traditions in honoring the departed. If you’ve never been to the funeral of someone of a different religion, you might be curious about their practices. The following list highlights how five religious groups pay their respects.

How Different Religions Celebrate the Lives of Lost Loved Ones

1. Buddhism

The customs vary within sects, but Buddhist services are simple and solemn. The casket or cremated remains of the loved one are placed near the altar, where flowers, candles, incense, and a picture of the deceased are laid. Family and friends bow at the altar to reflect upon the life of the lost loved one. Monks often deliver the service and prayers, but any member of the Buddhist community may do so.

2. Judaism

Because burial generally takes place within 24 hours of passing, viewing or wakes during Jewish funerals are not typical. Before the service, the family participates in “keriah,” where a visible piece of clothing or black ribbon is torn to honor the deceased and symbolize grieving. The rabbi or family members lead those attending in prayers and read psalms and eulogies. These passages celebrate the life and mourn the passing of a loved one.

3. Catholicism

funeralMost funerals are held within a Catholic church, where the casket or urn of the departed is placed in the front of the room. The funeral Mass is given by a priest, and the “liturgy,” or service, includes prayers and the reading of Scripture. Eulogies are delivered at Vigils, which usually take place the night before the funeral. Those in attendance give their condolences to the family and reflect upon the life of the deceased.

4. Islam

As with Judaism, Islamic burials take place within 24 hours, and there is no viewing. The body is washed until it’s entirely clean and shrouded in large white sheets, in practices referred to as “Ghusl” and “Kafan.” At the mosque, family and friends are lead in funeral prayers called “Salat al-Janazah” in a prayer room, study room, or courtyard. Salat al-Janazah is performed by everyone while facing toward Mecca.

5. Hinduism

Hindus hold wakes for their lost loved ones, who are placed in open caskets. The body is adorned with holy basil and flowers. If the deceased is a man, they will have ash or sandalwood applied on their forehead, while women receive turmeric. Most Hindus are cremated, and traditional cremations take place on the Ganges River. Those in the United States may hold ceremonies in the crematorium, where they pray and perform rituals.


Mourning the loss of a loved one is difficult, but celebrating their life focuses on the positivity they brought to the world. The compassionate staff at Leeward Funeral Home of Pearl City, HI, understands the need for family and friends to both grieve and honor the departed. They’ll work with you to ensure the funeral or memorial service adheres to your respective religious beliefs and practices. With a variety of healing resources, funeral options, and the ability to fully customize your service, this business is dedicated to helping you properly memorialize your loved one. To learn more, call (808) 455-1041 or visit their website.

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