Funeral Rites in Christianity
Christianity throughout the world is divided among varied sects including but not limited to Catholicism, Anglicanism, Mormonism, many denominations of Protestantism, and the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Although all share in the teachings of Jesus Christ and a theology founded on salvation and eternal life, most have incorporated specific funeral rituals and ceremonies that reflect their unique differences. The following videos and text offer insight into the funeral and memorial service options available in the widely diverse Christian community. Please click on the videos below to watch local clergy explore the varied traditions found in Christian funeral services.
Rev. Dennis Moon
South Congregational Church - Granby, CT
The Reverend Canon Wilbourne A. Austin
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church-Bloomfield, CT
Rev. Kenric A. Prescott
Union Baptist Church
Funeral Rites in the Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses
For over 60 years Carmon Community Funeral Homes have honorably served families of the Jehovah’s Witness faith in the Hartford, Bloomfield, Windsor, South Windsor, & East Hartford congregations. When a witness dies, his or her family would notify a brother at their local Kingdom Hall and a funeral director to discuss planning services for the person. The Jehovah’s Witness faith does not dictate or influence any decisions a family will make regarding the location of funeral or memorial services or disposition of the witness’s remains (traditional burial, cremation, or body donation). Each decision is recognized as a personal choice that will be honored by the funeral home and accepted and supported by members of his or her congregation. A funeral or memorial service may include any combination of the following elements: prayers, congregational singing, a memorial talk that references scripture directly from the Bible, and displayed photos of the deceased. All people are welcome to attend public funeral and memorial services held within a Kingdom Hall and encouraged to visit the Watchtower website, www.jw.org, to obtain further information and learn more about the Jehovah’s Witness faith.
Funeral Rites in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
One of the most solemn and sacred meetings of the Church is the funeral for a departed member. It is a time of caring and support when families gather in a spirit of tender regard for one another. It is a time to soberly contemplate doctrines of the gospel and the purposes for the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Except where burial is prohibited by law, we are counseled to bury our dead. There are important symbolic references to burial in the ordinance of baptism and elsewhere in the doctrines of the Church. Where required by law, alternate methods of disposing of the remains do not nullify the Resurrection. On occasion a body will be lost through accident or military action. A funeral is nevertheless very important. For we take comfort in the promises in the scriptures of a complete restoration of both the body and the spirit. To obtain further information and learn more about the Mormon faith, please visit www.lds.org.
Funeral Rites in Buddhism
In each of its culturally specific forms Buddhism teaches its followers three basic truths: nothing is lost in the universe, all things experience change, and change is governed by karma (the law of cause and effect). When a death occurs, we are reminded of the universality of these maxims. Each vehicle of Buddhism blends local customs and culturally specific rituals into a unique cremation and/or funeral ceremony. For example, the Vietnamese tradition holds a forty-nine day ceremony following the cremation of the body to recognize the period of time until rebirth occurs.
Please watch the videos to the right featuring Sister Phap Chan and Ven. Thich Thien Loi at the Phap Hoa Buddhist Temple in Rockville, CT as they explain more about death, cremation, and funeral ceremonies according to the Vietnamese Buddhist teachings. More information on Buddhist funeral rites and ceremonies can also be found on Sister Chan’s blog, http://www.a-buddhist-death.org/.
Sister Phap Chan
Phap Hon Buddhist Temple
Ven. Thich Thien Loi
Phap Hon Buddhist Temple
Funeral Rites in Hinduism
In Hindu Shastras (scriptures) the Pujan (reverent worship ceremony) offered prior to the Agani Daha (cremation) of a deceased individual is called by various names such as Antesthi Pujan or Shat Pindi Pujan. Normally offered at home in Bharat, in the United States the Pujan is typically offered at a funeral home by a priest in the presence of the deceased’s relatives and friends. It is customary to have the deceased person displayed in an open casket without a lid or cover allowing for their feet to be exposed. (This may appear unusual to western attendees who may be more familiar with viewing an open casket with a hinged lid that displays only the upper half of the deceased’s body. ) The length of the Pujan will range from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending upon the emotional state of the family and time spent for personal reflections and/or prepared eulogies by friends or colleagues. During the ceremony, music will be played and prayers are offered for the deceased along with ceremonial anointing of the deceased with ghee (purified butter) and flower petals. The Pujan concludes with the witnessing of the Agani Daha (cremation) in the retort chamber followed by a chanting of sacred prayers and the recession from the crematory. For family and friends attending a funeral Pujan, it is appropriate to remove one’s shoes when entering the funeral parlor out of respect for the deceased’s family. Traditionally there are no floral tributes displayed in the funeral home during the Pujan; however, they are not forbidden and are left to the discretion of the deceased’s family and friends.
Funeral Rites in Islam
In Islam, all people are regarded as equal in every aspect of life. Accordingly, funeral ceremonies are, for the most part, uniform and are unembellished in design. Services usually take place in a local mosque 24-48 hours after the death. Earth burial in an Islamic cemetery is the chosen method of disposition and will immediately follow services at the mosque. Please click here to watch as Imam Haidara explains the importance of the Islamic funeral ceremony and burial rituals.
Islamic Center of Connecticut, Inc. Madina Masjid, Windsor, CT
Funeral Rites in Judaism
Please click here to watch as Rabbi Lefkowitz explains the history, traditions, and rituals found in Jewish funeral customs.
Rabbi Alan Lefkowitz
Congregation Beth Ahm
Funeral Rites in West Indian Cultures
Among the many cultures found in Northern Connecticut, the countries of the Caribbean have a tremendous presence and enrich the cultural makeup of our communities. The people are spirited and passionate about the traditions they have brought from their homeland and during a time of loss, it is most important to honor the wishes of the deceased and the bereaved family. Carmon Community Funeral Homes have consistently provided meaningful and personal services to the families in these communities and will continue to honor and respect their unique funeral rituals.
Funeral Rites for Celebrant-Led Traditions
In the absence of a defined faith or religious tradition, many families wish to honor the life and memory of their loved one through a personal and humanistic approach. Non-denominational or celebrant led services have become more common in the United States and may offer families a greater opportunity to express personal beliefs about death and loss with or without the involvement of a clergy. Click the video to the right to watch Joe Colletti explain more about celebrant led services.
Mr. Joseph Colletti
East Granby, CT