Key Elements of Cultural Funerals

Adding multicultural funeral services to funeral homes brings a myriad of benefits to the business, including a broader client base, cultural education, and appreciation for different ethnic practices. First, however, funeral directors need to understand the different cultures before adding them to their packages. Part of such understanding involves learning essential elements of cultural funerals. Notably, the elements have a historical precedent, and cultural funeral ceremonies would lose their meaning without them. This article provides insights into such aspects.

Significant Symbols

Human beings have used symbols to communicate since time immemorial. Notably, different cultures continue to use symbols for different occasions, including funerals services. Therefore, funeral directors need to understand significant symbols for different cultural funeral services. For instance, Chinese culture uses white chrysanthemums to symbolise grief. Similarly, the culture allows grandchildren to wear green flowers in their hair while daughters and daughters-in-law don white flowers. On the other hand, the Korean culture requires that servants of wealthy families make decorative instruments from thick paper, wood, straw, and cotton during a funeral service. Koreans also dress the dead in traditional death dresses made of silk or hemp. Therefore, understanding the symbolic elements of the different cultures you serve ensures that you offer a farewell celebration considered respectful to your clients.

Ritual Actions 

Death demands that a family performs specific rituals that align with their culture. For example, most ethnic communities in the Asian culture keep a casket open as a sign of respect to the elders of the deceased family. Asian families also visit the deceased's body for three days before a funeral service. Friends and the community also prepare meals for the grieving family at a funeral home or the deceased's home. Similarly, the Chinese and Koreans burn incense during a funeral service and at a gravesite. Another ritual characteristic of Korean culture is bathing their dead in perfumed water.

The Body's Transition

Asian communities believe in life after death, and that departed loved ones need to be as comfortable as possible in the afterlife. In most cultures, prayers, hymns, and reverence usually accompany the transition of a body. However, Asian cultures are quite different since they include imitations of material belongings. For instance, various Asian religions burn spirit money and paper replicas of belongings like mansions, cars, and luxury bags during funeral services to make the deceased comfortable in their afterlife. Other Asian communities burn fake money to repay the deceased's debt.

For more information, contact a funeral home in your area that conduct Asian funerals.