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Death Ritual

All religious communities have rituals to honor the body and the spiritual presence of the departed and to facilitate the ascendance of their souls to the world beyond. In this essay, the focus will be on the rituals of Hindus in India and in Hindu diaspora communities around the world, since they illustrate the changing nature of death rituals in a global, multicultural context.

Hindus have elaborate rituals at death and mark the date periodically in later months and years. Most Hindus cremate the dead; however, young children and ascetics are interred, as are members of some communities such as the Lingayats. The ashes after cremation are frequently immersed in nearby rivers or oceans. Immersion of the ashes in the river Ganga is especially recommended. Death ...

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