Indian Funeral Traditions
The time after the death or passing away of a person in India is given a lot of importance. As per the Hindu Holy Scripture like the Bhagwat Gita, it is believed that the soul of the person who has just passed away is on its way to the next level of existence at such a time. As such, it is with an intention to help the departed soul in a peaceful crossover to that next level of his /her existence, that Indians observe so many death rites and rituals.
One such Hindu death ceremony is the Teravih. It is a period of mourning observed by Indian people, starting from the day of the death of a particular person, whether male, female or children, to the 13th day after his /her funeral. During teravih death ritual, there are many rules that the family members of the deceased have to observe. For instance, they are not supposed to attend religious functions, eat certain foods like sweets, wear new clothes or participate in any cultural activity or festivity.
The basic idea behind the Indians' following all these funeral traditions is to show reverence to the deceased person. Normally during this time, all the family members share each others sorrows and pray, so that the soul of the deceased person rests peacefully. Though it's basically during teravih that the death rites are strictly observed, but traditionally, the death rites in Hindu religion extend up to a year.
At the end of one year, all elderly members of the deceased person gather once again for the Shraad ceremony. The 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th day after the death of the person are also important, as all relatives gather to have a meal of the deceased's favorite foods. A small amount of the food is offered before his /her photo and later, it is ceremonially left at an abandoned place, along with a lit diya. However, there may be slight variations in the way people of different religious sect observe this death rite.
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