A funeral rite is a ceremony that has to do with paying the final respect to the dead or deceased. It is also connected to the final disposition of a corpse either by laying to rest or by cremation. Funeral rites compose of the various ceremony which includes prayers, admonishment, rituals [as per custom and tradition], mourning, a celebration of life, offering support and sympathy to the family of the deceased and this helps the soul to which is laid to rest to be in peace as per belief.
Funeral rites are performed depending on culture or custom for example in Hindu they cremate/burn the body of the deceased into ashes, in japan (i.e. Japanese Buddhist) they perform the funeral by an act of bone picking, while the Russians practice the monastic art of funeral. Generally, funeral practised are done according to different beliefs about the connection between body and soul. A funeral is a remembrance that everyone will surely live the earth. It is a moment to bring to remembrance and also to acknowledge the truth that we are like dust in the air. The funeral rites and preparations are time and periods for the family and friends of deceased to collectively work together also endeavour to support the surviving family members.
There are various reasons as to why some people don’t want a funeral rite to happen/take place. In some countries like Nigeria, especially in the Igbo land if someone dies and maybe the deceased has a daughter, the funeral rites of the mother have to be done before marriage. The body could be laid to rest that period and the funeral rites can come up anytime in the future. But there is no law, neither is it compulsory that a funeral rite has to be performed. Most people don’t agree to funerals because of the cost involved, handling the noise and empathy of some persons.
There are ways to avoid the funeral which include:
- Natural burial: Here a burial ground is used, whereby the leader of the church deceased attends or rather the family attends is meant to be there with the family; the body is then laid to rest there or even in the father’s compound. This is for easy visitation and occurrence of memorial service (not compulsory as well).
- Cremation: This is mostly practised in the Asian part of the world especially the Indians and people that practice the Hindu religion. They believe that to dust we have come and to dust, we shall return. The body of the deceased is burnt, the ashes are either kept as memory or poured in the water (river, sea, lakes) near them.