It’s natural to feel sad when we experience the loss of a loved one. However, for those who follow Sikhism, keeping the memory of their lost family member alive is especially important. As part of the mourning process, there are several Sikh funeral traditions and practices that must be observed.
One of the central beliefs in Sikhism is that death is an integral part of life, and one should accept the will of God and not despair. Therefore, the deceased’s family members will start the traditional mourning process when they hear of their loved one’s passing. The deceased’s closest family and friends traditionally wear all-white garments without ornamentation or jewellery. They are to stay home until after the funeral unless it is necessary.
Sikh Funeral Services
At the funeral, Sikh traditions dictate that no body contact should occur and the dead should remain wrapped in a white cloth. Before cremation, Sikhism typically encourages traditional ceremonies and prayers led by an officiant to ensure the departed’s spiritual well-being. Traditional Sikh funerals last around three days but may be longer or shorter, depending on the circumstances. After the final day of prayers, the body will be cremated in a large open flame according to Sikh custom.
Customs and Traditions
Sikh funeral services also typically involve flowers, incense and mantras. In addition, friends and family may bring gifts, photos, food and money to remember the deceased. During this time, Sikh traditions focused on respecting the dead, respecting those who attended and caring for one another during the difficult period.
Death is seen in a much different light within the Sikh community. Sikh funeral traditions bring family, friends and communities together in respect of the dead and help bring a sense of closure and peace to the mourning process. Despite its often sombre mood, funerals can bring solace and remind us of the preciousness of life and the presence of spirituality in every one of us.