Rituals and Traditions of a Hindu Funeral

Every religion follows certain sets of customs and traditions at the time of marriage, childbirth, and death. It is important to respect the traditions of each religion. In Hindu funeral ceremonies and traditions there are a number of steps and guidelines which should be followed. We list below some of the rituals and practices followed in a Hindu funeral ceremony.

Preparing for Hindu funeral

The rituals in a Hindu funeral ceremony executed by the funeral plan companies mainly consist of three steps- the wake, cremation, and the shradh . Friends, family and well-wishers can participate in the wake-up ceremony. For the cremation, kith and kin of the deceased and people of the Hindu faith may be a part. The shradh is usually open to all those who were familiar with the deceased.


After you have informed family friends and others about the death; the family members must plan a cremation within a day or two. There are a few rules that differ in relation to the gender of the deceased. During the ceremony, one of the family members of the deceased authorizes a Karta to perform the funeral rites. In most cases, it is the oldest son of the deceased who facilitate the cremation rituals. In case of his unavailability, the youngest son or any close male relative of the deceased can execute the procedures on his behalf. The Hindu funeral tradition does not believe in the practice of embalming or burying a dead body.

Location and duration

The time taken for a Hindu funeral service can be between 2 to 4 hours. The funeral service provider generally carries out the funeral service in a funeral home or any other facility where the open casket wake ceremony and cremation can be done.

Who can attend the funeral ceremony

Apart from the family members and the priest; all the loved ones, neighbours, friends, and well-wishers of the deceased person, can attend Hindu funerals? These people provide comfort to the grieving family in their difficult times.

Rituals and customs

The cremation ceremony requires few items such as plain rice, sesame seeds, cow dung, sandal paste, a matchbox, ghee, and 30 coins. Hindu funeral ceremony includes prayers, chants, and songs.

Hindu funeral service etiquette

You must follow certain etiquettes regarding what to wear during a Hindu funeral ceremony. Your clothes should be plain white. Fashionable clothes are strictly not allowed. Women should cover their heads, shoulders, arms and knees. You are not allowed to dress in black in a Hindu funeral ceremony. Open-toed shoes and bare minimum jewellery is permitted. The mood during a funeral service is a somber one. Hence, all those who attend the funeral must maintain the solemnity of the occasion to share solidarity with the grieving family. You can take fruits if you are invited to attend the immersion ceremony by the deceased’s family.

Now that you have a basic knowledge of the Hindu funeral services, you are well prepared to attend one. Offer support to the family of the deceased by praying for the departed soul.