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Friday, January 8, 2010

Funeral Rites And Rituals

Posted by patrick

By Diane James

Funerals across the world are marked by a number of rites and rituals. It is at the funerals that the loved ones make peace with the fate and pay their respects to the deceased's soul.

Church rules regulate the rites of funerals in Christian communities. However, as there are more than 200 different communities of Christians, there are various differences in the manner in which the funeral services are organized by each community.

An important ceremony of a Christian funeral, known as wake, is the first and foremost custom that is carried out before the actual funeral and involves watching over the dead person and recital of Biblical psalms for the eternal peace of his soul. According to present day practices, this is the time where friends and family see the deceased for the last time and offer their heartfelt respects. The deceased is preserved and placed either at the house or inside a Chapel with only a specified number of visiting hours. In old times, the wake was succeeded by the ritual of absolution, which involved absolving the deceased of all the sins he or she committed in the present life, and placing a cross on the chest and performing offertory where people placed gifts in the casket.

Then begins the actual service itself, where the dead is first transported to the Church in a vehicle and prayers from the Holy Bible are recited and hymns are sung in the church. After this, the clergy asks a family member or a friend to give a eulogy before the burial. Some communities have chiming of the bells as a part of the proceedings that marks the end of ceremony. Once the funeral proceedings are over, the casket with the deceased is carried to the burial site and burial service is held before the final burial.

Finally, the family members arrange for a lunch for the friends, relatives and acquaintances who are attending the funeral. The prime aim of this custom of lunch is to share the grief of the aggrieved family and help them cope with the descended fate.

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