What the Dead Have to Do With the Living

Profile photo of Harleena Singh - | 48 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Life & Inspiration

Man holding hands and remembering the dead

You must be wondering that I always write about life and living, then why all of a sudden I’m writing about death and the dead in my post.

Well, today’s post is to touch upon a deeper issue, to remember the saints, martyrs, and your departed loved ones.

Recently, most of the major religions celebrated the ritual of remembering and worshiping the dead.

I’m more interested in the underlying meaning and roots of these rituals. I believe most rituals start for a reason, and sometime, somewhere, they lose their meaning.

If you remember, I’d earlier written about the ways of dealing with the loss of a loved one, where I’d mentioned all about understanding death and how you can cope with death.

Most religions believe death to be a part of life, and teach you how to treat your departed loved ones.

Why Remember the Dead

Not everyone likes to read or talk about death, but death is inevitable. Eventually all your known ones, including you and me are going to die.

However, should you completely forget your loved ones who’re dead and take them out of your life? Would you want to be forgotten after you’re gone from this world?

Most of you want to be cared, loved, and remembered while living. That’s the best form of appreciation. This is the way you should treat others even after they’re gone.

But that does not mean that you’ve to be sad, revive your sorrows, and cry about the loss. It’s all about appreciating the goodness of the departed person and expressing your feelings of gratitude.

Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, I’m sure that you’ll agree that you need to be grateful to the departed ones for their efforts to love and care for you.

Even if you wanted to, you cannot remember all your departed loved ones all the time. Doing so might affect your life and work adversely.

Ancient people came up with a solution to assign particular days to pay gratitude to the dead that were once part of our family.

This included the ones whom you’ve never met, because in some way or the other they are responsible for the gift of life that you possess.

Just like you’ve father’s day, mother’s day, you also have various days to remember your dead ancestors.

Woman performing ritual to remember the dead

Rituals for the Dead

Almost all major religions believe in life after death, and that the souls or spirits need to be remembered and thanked.
Jews observe Yizkor to offer prayers to martyrs and for departed family members.

Hindus have a fortnight period called Shraddha or Pitru Paksha, where they offer food and prayers to keep the souls of their ancestors at rest.

The Chinese and other East Asians Buddhists celebrate Yu Lan or the Hungry Ghost Festival, where they pay homage to the deceased ancestors, who visit the living on the Ghost Day once in a year.

Japanese Buddhists celebrate the festival of the dead in form of Bon Festival. Even the Incas of South America used to have a dedicated month to honor the dead.

On the other hand, the ancient Egyptians and Romans too had special ceremonies as their way of respecting the dead.

Day of the Dead, with its roots in the ancient Aztec culture, is celebrated in Mexico to pray for and remember departed family and friends.

The festival of Samhain upon which the modern Halloween is based, is where the dead are thought to return to the living, who offer them food and light.

And, of course, Hallowmas of Christians that includes the All Saints’ Day and the All Souls’ Day for remembering the martyrs and the saints.

There may be more examples of rituals for the ancestors, but the question is why do we have them?

Why Should We Have Rituals for Remembering the Dead

Don’t be surprised if I say that having rituals for the dead is good from the health and psychological point of view.

Well, rituals are ceremonies, practices, and habits that you create to take care of yourself and to love and live the right way.

Most rituals form after hundreds of years of consideration and observations and serve us as automated guidelines to avoid pain and suffering in life in the long term, and provide support and strength.

As discussed earlier, the rituals of remembering the dead help you to be thankful and in many ways be at peace with yourself and the world. Here are some of them:

• Even after the initial burial and cremation rituals, the bereaved don’t completely get over their grief. Days to remember the dead after a considerable time of death of the loved ones help to flush out the pent up feelings.

• Such occasions also help you deal with your feelings of guilt of not having done enough for the loved ones who died. It’s better late than never, and days of remembering the dead are an opportunity for closure, if you didn’t have them earlier.

• Depending on your religious and spiritual beliefs, you may feel good after having offered your best of gifts, thoughts, and feelings so your loved one feels good too, if you believe in after life.

• Release of your feelings may act as a catharsis, open up your emotional blockages, and even reduce the tension in your body so that you feel light and happy.

• In the event of death, the bereaved family gets huge support, but they’re often left in isolation soon after. Days of remembering the dead give a reason for all the bereaved to come together and give them solace. They feel that they’ve others with them in their journey of recovery.

• It’s an honor to remember someone who contributed to your happiness, to the society, or to the nation in positive and constructive ways, or even otherwise. It’s time to be grateful and make the contributions of the departed person worthy and respectful.

• Your loved one or departed soul spent or gave his or her life directly or indirectly for your benefit and betterment. You owe at least a remembrance and a reason to be thankful for. You know you cannot be thankful enough because of your duties and obligations, but following the ritual you can at least console yourself that you didn’t forget.

There can be numerous reasons why rituals help you perform your duty to honor and respect the people who matter to you but have gone away from this world. And, there are many ways to do that.

How to Honor the Departed Ones

Whatever you do with your heart and good intentions – is good. Choose a way of remembering your loved ones in a way that suits you. You may do so by:

• Visiting places that served special memories between you and the loved one.
• Preparing dishes that your loved one liked and enjoyed.
• Plant memorial plants and nurture them.
• Have special messages published in the newspapers or magazines.
• Create a photo album or a family video to remember the good times you shared with your loved one.
• Go to your place of religious worship and offer prayers, light a candle, or ring a bell.
• You can donate food or money on anniversaries or specific days or remembering the ancestors?.
• Visit the grave of the departed family or friend, which itself is an indication of how much you care.

The list is endless as you do many things to honor your loved ones in ways you think are best.

Moreover, you don’t need any specific day like an anniversary or a day for remembering the dead as specified by your religion.

You can feel the love and display your care and respect for your departed ones on any day and at any time. It should make you feel better without becoming an obstacle in your daily life or work.

The fact is that you need rituals to express yourself and channelize your emotions. You need rituals to understand events and your own self.

Rituals help create order in chaos, a system for management, a reason to create rhythm in life, and connect to those who’ve come and gone before you or during your time.

Rituals are important in times of distress, and when you feel helpless and lonely. They guide you to do the right thing in a the right way, if you’ve no one to guide you.

Having said that, some rituals corrupt with time as people change them, or they might sometimes add their selfish motives and make them biased.

Rituals that create more problems and seem senseless with the changing times should either be changed or abandoned.

After going through the post, don’t you feel you should be honoring and respecting your elders while they are still alive, and honor them once they are gone?

Over to you

Have you ever tried to follow a ritual to remember the dead and honor the ancestors or departed loved ones? How do you do that? Share your ways of honoring in the comments below.

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos,  AlicePopkorn

(Note: The next post will be on 19th Nov – a special one for Men’s Day, so stay tuned everyone. I’m just taking a few days off travelling with my family.)



Show Comments

48 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Winifred Reilly

    November 5, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Death and loss touches all of us. I appreciate having a ritual for remembering, honoring and, some years more than other, feeling grief about those who are no longer here.

    Having been raised in a Jewish family, we light an annual candle called a yahrzeit on the anniversary of the person’s death. Saying Kaddish, a prayer for the dead, is a way of acknowledging their continued presence thought the person who is reciting the prayer.

    May sound funny, but I look forward to my parent’s yahrzeit (I also light a candle for an aunt who was a beloved person in my life) because it honors what they gave to me.

    When I have clients who did not grow up with cultural or religious ritual I help them create their own.

    Thanks for this thoughtful piece.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      November 5, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Hi Winifred,

      I’m glad you like this article and feel that a ritual for remembering does hold value.

      You do bring up a point that many people in the present era grow up without any cultural or religious rituals, and most of them have no idea how to go about in those situations. Of course, you can create your own rituals, and you do a great job helping people do that to cope with the events of life.

      Can’t say about anything else, but death and loss is a common factor among us all around the globe. It’s always helpful is we’ve something or someone to guide us to cope with it. Some rituals are really comforting, like the ones that you follow and perform.

      I consider prayer as an instrument that opens up our heart to fill it up with energy that helps heal and restore it. Honoring your ancestors is paying your homage and gratitude to every single person who directly or indirectly have been instrumental in your creation and life – the ritual becomes a chain that connects you to your predecessors.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your deep thoughts and personal experiences that help us understand the rituals better. Have a great week ahead! 🙂

    • Kevin

      November 12, 2013 at 3:45 am

      Very interesting. I liked how informative it was to learn about how different cultures do rituals for the dead.
      I completely agree though, that it is important for us to remember the dead and appreciate them still. Because if they are that important to use then we should remember the things they have taught is and the joy that they did bring to us. 🙂

  2. Pramod

    November 5, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Harleena !

    I think rituals for the dead are organized for people so that they can share their feelings with each other and show their respect for the deceased.I’m a Hindu and i’ve attended few such rituals .For a hindu who has lost his/hers loved one , organizing a ritual like Shraddha or Pitru Paksha is must .I didn’t know the rituals followed by non- hindu people .Thanks for making me aware of them .

    -Pramod

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      November 5, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      Hi Pramod,

      Yes, it’s no surprise that rituals for the dead are being observed by people of all cultures and religions. This fact signifies the importance and value of honoring and remembering the dead.

      An annual common ritual to show respect to the deceased is irrespective of the actual date of death anniversary of your loved ones. On such events you can remember all your ancestors at one time and place. The Hindu Shraddha is perhaps for the longest duration among all other such rituals around the world.

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing your views to this post. Have a wonderful week ahead! 🙂

  3. Susan Neal

    November 5, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    The culture I’ve grown up in is hopeless at dealing with death and bereavement. I think many people are in denial about their own and their loved ones’ mortality, and consequently struggle to cope when someone dies.

    You’re right in saying that bereaved relatives often get lots of support immediately after a death, but then are left to cope on their own. I think it’s a shame we don’t have the kind of rituals you refer to – my own experience is that once the funeral’s over, that’s that – apart from those who maybe visit and lay flowers at their loved ones’ graves. And if, as in my case, you move hundreds of miles away from where your deceased relatives are buried, that may not be an option.

    I don’t engage in any particular rituals, but do honour people who have been important to me, by holding them in my memory, and by thinking and talking about them from time to time.

    Thanks for an unusual and inspiring post, Harleena – you’re always very good at making us think about the hard stuff 🙂

  4. Donna Merrill

    November 6, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Hi Harleena,

    What a beautiful article you have written. Most people shy away from this, but the reality is, we are all going to die.

    As for rituals, As a Roman Catholic, each Sunday, in the part of the mass, we pray for those who have died and remember them.

    For me, I have lost many loved ones and pray for them all the time. Sometimes an aunt or uncle long gone pops into my mind and I just sit quietly for a moment and pray to them.

    Also in my religion, there are many saints. We pray to them to intervene to our God and his mercy for our departed souls.

    I think that praying helps the living to carry those we have lost. Believing there is a merciful God, gives us comfort in our mourning process because we know they are in a better place.

    Hey, we all are going there some day!

    Thanks for bringing this topic up Harleena. I’m sure it will help many that might be caught up in the loss of someone.

    -Donna

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      November 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Donna,

      I’m glad you like the article. Honestly, I was a bit reluctant to publish it and initially I thought to combine it with the Halloween post. But then I thought it might spoil the fun as not everybody is comfortable talking about death and the dead.

      It’s a beautiful ritual that you’ve and remembering the departed ones every week is a beautiful thing to do. Of course, this remembrance is not sad and is full of prayers wishing them the best in the new world.

      I admire your habit and practice of honoring your beloved ones by giving them your moment and dedication. It is indeed the best offering we can make. Yes, I do hear and read that there are good souls and spirits, including those of saints that help when prayed to. But apart from that, praying has psychological benefits too and help us keep ourselves mentally healthy too.

      Yes, it might sound bitter and crude to say, but we’re all going somewhere someday, and I believe once this realization sets in, it helps us make efforts to live better and in the right way.

      I really hope this post helps those and all who’ve lost loved ones. Thanks for stopping by and adding your wise and wonderful views. Have a happy week ahead! 🙂

  5. Babanature

    November 6, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Hello Harleena,

    Hmmm.. I haven’t done any ritual for the dead before but one thing I never fail to do is – make sure every day after my prayers, that i pray for the dead including my pops and all the loved ones I have lost…And believe it, I still have his picture in my house 🙂

    Ahhh… you will be out for one week plus? wow!!! This trip must be something else… But hey, we’ll always be here waiting for you… 🙂

    Thanks for the lovely post and do have a wonderful week ahead

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      November 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Babanature,

      The thing you do after your prayers is actually a ritual to remember the dead. It can be different for different people, and you do that by praying for the dead. And the fact that you do it on a daily basis, makes it more special. It’s nice that you remember your pops and have his picture in your house; in fact, in India, almost everybody displays the pictures of their departed loved ones in their homes.

      I never feel like leaving the blogging world but then I do have to think about the family and what’s good for it too. I’ll sure be missing everything and hope to catch up when I return. 🙂 Thanks for being there!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your personal thoughts and experiences. I really appreciate it. Do have a great week ahead! 🙂

  6. Balroop Singh

    November 6, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Hi Harleena, this post has touched my heart in more than one way but I disagree with you on certain points…

    While remembering the dead may hold a valuable place in our heart but personally I don’t like cultural and religious rituals, which I believe are an ostentatious form of showing your love and concern, which is more of a hypocrisy these days. Whether such rituals are comforting or fulfilling, getting tied to such rituals for the sake of observing them is quite absurd. Rituals have, no doubt, corrupted with time especially in Asian societies and they are undertaken more, for the sake of societal norms and pressures.

    I agree more with Susan that holding your dear ones in your memory by thinking and talking about them is the biggest homage we can pay from the core of our heart. To my mind, honoring and respecting the living is more important and meaningful than the departed.

    Thanks for shaking our thoughts and make us understand the value of the living!
    Have a nice holiday!

  7. Kumar Gauraw

    November 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Like Donna said, this isn’t a pleasing subject and I will admit it to be one of those who want to avoid thinking/talking about it even though it is the ultimate truth of life.

    Everything born also brings its death with it. Everything that is alive, will die someday 🙁

    Speaking of death, I remember in Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna says, “We all are dying, we all are standing in line to enter the gate which leads to the death – the ultimate trugh. The only thing is, we don’t know our spot in the line.

    How true…. and how interesting indeed!

    And since I already admitted I kind of avoid getting into this topic, I will stop it here and wish you a happy and successful rest of the week and a wonderful weekend 🙂

    Regards,
    Kumar

  8. Ebenezer

    November 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Wow! I never knew that Halloween is related Samhain…

    Bottom line is that everyone of us, one way or the other, remember and celebrate the departure of those before us… No one, can deny that!

    Rudolf Diesel in 1893, manufacture the diesel engine. He Initially invented this engine to be used within Germany and to reduce the demand of the still piston engine.

    During the world war, the English invited him to manufacture the same engine in London, with the intention to make this wonderful invention even more universal. But the Germans (his follow country men) didn’t think so, they thought Britain needed the engine to use against them in the war (which may be true).

    In the evening of September 29, 1913, Diesel boarded the post office steamer Dresden in Antwerp on his way to a meeting of the Consolidated Diesel Manufacturing company in London. He took dinner on board the ship and then retired to his cabin at about 10 p.m., leaving word to be called the next morning at 6:15 a.m. His cabin was found empty during a roll call, and he was never seen alive again. A search of his cabin revealed that Diesel’s bed had not been slept in, although his nightshirt was neatly laid out and his watch had been left where he could see it from the bed. His hat and overcoat were discovered neatly folded beneath the afterdeck railing. Ten days later, the crew of the Dutch boat Coertsen came upon the corpse of a man floating in the ocean of the North Sea near Norway. The body was in such an advanced state of decomposition that it was unrecognizable, and they did not bring it aboard. Instead, the crew retrieved personal items (pill case, wallet, I.D. card, pocket knife, eyeglass case) from the clothing of the dead man, and returned the body to the sea. On October 13, these items were identified by Rudolf’s son, Eugen Diesel, as belonging to his father.

    Whether Rudolf Diesel was killed or died remains a mystery. But today, people ride and party on diesel cars without even knowing the inventor and how it came into existence – What i’m saying is that, no one can ever pay all it’s debt to the dead. But they certainly deserve to be remembered by their loved ones and for their good works.

    Thumbs up Harleena, for bringing up this important issue.

  9. Temilola Globalwalyy

    November 6, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Excellent as usual, this is really wow, though many don’t like to hear or talked about anything related to death, they forgot we all live on a borrowed Life..

    Most religion teaches people how to respect the dead, from my own religion view, we don’t do ritual for the dead ones, we pray for them, as we where told and according to what we read, that the most important things a dead person needed is Prayer..

    This post really make me remember my loved ones that passed away, may their soul rest in peace, and i wouldn’t forget to pray for Harleena mother, if not for her dearest mother i will not be reading this today..

    Thanks for sharing and this deserve a share.. sorry for not being here on time…

    Have a blessed week
    Kind regards
    Temilola

  10. Shalu Sharma

    November 7, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Hi Harleena

    The Hindus also believe in Pind Daan to make sure that the soul of the ancestors leave the materialist world and go to the next one.

    Quite a difficult topic but I have found these metaphysical discussions quite fascinating. But deep down if you really think about it, people do it out of fear of the unknown, the fear of what is beyond this world and fear for themselves.

    I could be wrong.

  11. Jeevan Jacob John

    November 7, 2013 at 3:15 am

    I certainly have participated in rituals for honoring the dead, but do I believe in those rituals?

    It depends. Right now, I am in a spiritual and philosophical journey, trying to figure out what I should believe, trying to define life and the universe (part of my mind thinks this is a waste of time and resources. I do spend a vast amount of my brain power for this activity).

    Right now, I believe that death is a way – a way to find and learnt the truths about this universe (Since I believe in possibilities, I also believe that there is no afterlife, life is everything we have got). So, right now, I don’t feel bad about people dying (I don’t think I would be sad, if anyone I know were to die). I still have things to figure. The journey must go on…

    As for honoring the dead, I suppose it is a great activity – as long as we are honoring their acts, the legacy they left behind 😀

    Hope you have a good time with your family 🙂 Happy Journey (Is that right? I don’t know which expressions are acceptable and right anymore…)

  12. Debbie

    November 7, 2013 at 3:34 am

    This is really Nice. I am like Susan we don’t have any rituals for the dead. Like she said, when the funeral is over everyone goes home. For me some days I think of them a lot, other days not as much. Sometimes I talk with my sister about them. or share it with my girls. one thing that we do is visit the grave site, but that does get hard when you have moved away.

    I find after time you forget about the dead itself and remember the good times and what you learned from them and how they touched your life. I have a friend that I lost when I was 14 and so was he. I still smile when thinking about him. I also have friends that I lost later in my teens and early 20’s, the same goes for them. They all left me with beautiful memories I treasure.

  13. Liz McGee

    November 7, 2013 at 4:20 am

    Hi Harleena,

    What a special post you’ve written. I thoroughly have enjoyed it. Not something we often think about, but an important topic nonetheless.

    I’m a strong Christian and we just recently celebrated all Saints Day followed by all Souls day. These are special days to remember all the departed especially those we’ve known and loved on earth.

    For me I also think about those very close to me, like my Mom, every day. I often talk to her like she’s still here, sounds strange and maybe it is but I get comfort from that.

    Thanks Harleena. I’ve enjoyed the post.

    Blessings,
    Liz

  14. Emebu

    November 7, 2013 at 8:29 am

    For me i think death is a separation that cannot be reconnected for the now, once dead is dead and gone, if the departed was a just person person then we the living prepares our way to meet him/her in glory. Remembering the dead for me is not necessary.

  15. Mike

    November 7, 2013 at 10:08 am

    How ironic, Harleena, as this is the second time I’ve come across this tonight. There must be something in the blogosphere. One thing I read about was how they burn their dead in India. I’ve had 30 years of experience with death in my job. So, on the one hand I could say I’ve become a bit numb to it. Unfortunately that wall was so thick that I wasn’t having feelings to the losses close to me like a “normal” person should. At least not in the moment. But, down the road the emotions were released without warning. And that’s ok. I just lost my step-father (a man who literally saved me) and it tore me up pretty bad. Thank you for the insightful post! 🙂

  16. Manu

    November 7, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Hello Harleena,
    Glad to read another great post here. Before that I am not read any article related to that topic. Please add more posts related to this topic. All the religion have their own value varied from people to people. I am respect all the culture and religions.
    Enjoying this post
    Great weekend. !!

  17. Adrienne

    November 8, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I learned about some of these different rituals when I was researching a guest post on Halloween and how it originated. I honestly had no idea and I found the information so fascinating.

    I’m not of any religion that we celebrate the dead but they are always in my thoughts. Just recently we drove up to our family cemetery to put new flowers on the graves of my relatives including my Dad, my brother and my dog. We do that twice a year, once around the time they passed and then around my Dad’s birthday.

    Our loved ones were a big part of our lives and my grandparents have been gone now over 25 years but I still remember them to this day. It might not be some big formal ritual but as a family they will always remain in our thoughts and prayers.

    ~Adrienne

  18. Hiten

    November 8, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Hi Harleena,

    This was an excellent article on honouring those who have died.

    One point which I could really resonate with is what you wrote about how the bereaved family gets support. Indeed, this is what I appreciate about the Hindu ritual, which goes on for an extended period, where many friends and extended family give big amounts of support to those who’ve lost a loved one.

    Thank you.

  19. Himanshu

    November 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Hello Harleena madam,

    This is my first comment on your blog. After reading your blog post, I realized that we always remember our loved ones who died.You have given us all the ideas to give peace to the soul of people who are not live in this world. I personally like only one way i.e. we should donate money, food or cloths to the poor people instead of giving donation to Pundits…

  20. Carol B

    November 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    I can’t say that I have a ritual, but I do remember in my own way. We don’t live near any family members so visiting favorite places or graves are not an option. Instead, I incorporate into our Thanksgiving and Christmas times traditions that my mother and father’s families did. It helps us all remember them with fond memories. We bake a special French-Canadian meat pie from a generations old recipe that my father’s family did every Christmas Eve. And we make holiday cookies like my mother used to do, also using her family recipes. Every time I bring out the recipes, it reminds me of them. It’s like they are there with us, helping us celebrate.

    At other times of the year, I simply remember “in my head”. Maybe it sounds crazy but I like to “talk” with them on my early morning walks, when nobody else is around, distracting me.

  21. Cole Wiebe

    November 11, 2013 at 4:09 am

    Hi Harleena,

    We all have our own unique ways of honoring the dead. I lost my sister earlier this year. I’m a web developer/blogger, so I created a memorial website for her. It was a meaningful experience and I believe it helped others say their goodbyes.

    – Cole

  22. Corina Ramos

    November 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    We have always recognized “El Dia De Las Muertes” or Day of the Dead. At church we say a prayer for them and at home we light our candles and pray for them as well.

    I’m always thinking about loved ones who have passed away. And like Carol, I talk to them too, especially my grandmothers. Especially on special days like their birthdays and anniversaries, they come to my mind. I love telling stories to my kids so they get to know who their ancestors were.

    Wonderful post Harleena! Hope you enjoyed your weekend and had wonderful time shopping with your daughters!

  23. Carolyn

    November 11, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Harleena, You do tackle the tough topics!

    What a wonderful post to inspire us in ways to honor those who have passed on. I remember those close to me who have passed in my daily prayers.

    My sister and I started following a Korean tradition about 10 years ago: having my mother’s favorite dinner on the anniversary of her death. It’s a way of honoring her, plus my mother and I share the same favorite foods, so it’s a treat for me. It also brings me closer to my sister that we share this ritual, even if we are miles apart.

  24. Akaahan Terungwa

    November 11, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Hello Harleena,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation of this topic – for death is a universal phenomenon and the earlier we all accept that fact, the better for us all.

    I also love your mention of the word ‘belief”. We all believe in various teachings about death, an after life and honoring the dead. It’s best – safest to adhere what our religion upholds.

    Thanks for sharing this and do enjoy your vacation!

    – Terungwa

  25. Theodore Nwangene

    November 12, 2013 at 2:20 am

    A very touching post Harleena,

    I just remembered many of my loved ones that has gone to the great beyond after reading this post.

    In the Christian faith, especially the Catholics, when a member of the church dies, there are always many things to do in memory of the person and, when it comes to traditional ways, there are also lots of rituals that are normally performed to honor the person and, it is believed that until those things has been done for the person, it is believed that he has not yet rested in peace.

    Then every 1st November of the year, it is marked as all saint day in the Roman Catholic church which is the day we remember all our loved ones that has passed away, holy masses will also be cerebrated on that regard.

    The point is that, its very good to always remember our loved ones that are late after all, we used to be together.

    Thanks for sharing.

  26. Wendy Cooley, LMSW

    November 12, 2013 at 3:12 am

    Wonderful article. Most of my life the culture I have seen is to try and forget about the dead to get over the pain of the loss. I do not care for funerals in the US culture, but I do like it when people have celebration of life when someone passes away. Some people believe that the dead help them with their problems in life. I enjoyed your post and believe that people do need to start talking about death and celebrating people that have passed.

  27. Pooja Sehra Upadhyay

    November 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I always respect and liked the idea of remembering those who are gone. But, I hate to say that many wrong traditions have also come up by our so called religious leaders on the name showing respect to dead people. Instead of following stupid practices, can’t we just sit and try remembering dead by discussing the life they lead.

  28. Sylviane Nuccio

    November 12, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Interestingly, one of my blog posts last week was about the special day in France that we call “the Day of the Dead” it’s actually on November 2nd following “All Saints Day” which is November first.

    This post made me realize that America is split in the sense that some Americans know about that Day of the Dead celebrated on November 2nd and some don’t.

    We think of our dead loved one more than one day per year, for sure, but it’s nice to have an official day where we can remember them as a people and do special displaying such as going to their grave and bring flowers to them. I do believe that we are not in that tomb when we’re dead but it’s more of symbol.

    Thank you for dedicating this post to them.

  29. DianaBee

    November 13, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Harleena,

    Most of us, as adults, have lost loved ones. Many people are reluctant to talk about death, but it is indeed a part of life. Your very positive and helpful suggestions can bring healing and understanding to grieving people. I lost my younger brother in 2011, and posted a blog about him on the 2nd anniversary of his memorial service. I felt a dark cloud lift from me after I shared my story of our good times and special bond.
    Thank you so much.
    Diana

  30. Praveen Rajarao

    November 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Very interesting Harleena. Yes, the rituals for the dead is very common among us Indians, we always have our parents performing the rites for their parents, and we do that same for all our ancestors.

    It is good to read about what we actually do in real life, thanks for writing this up.

  31. Arelis Cintron

    November 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    In my Catholic Faith we celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls day but I’d like to think we all remember our loved ones more often than the set aside days. I love how all the major religions have a similar tradition!

  32. Karen Hoyt

    November 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Harleena –

    You have such a broad perspective on this subject. Great blog. I think it is something that everyone can identify with.

    I read the post a few days ago and didn’t have time to comment then, but later had the chance to talk to my granddaugthers about it. They asked why I loved Cardinals. I told them that it was because my grandma did, and that when I saw one, or even a feather from one, it was like a kiss from heaven.

    It was a good chance to talk to them about the dead and how the people we love influence our lives in many ways. I often feel close to my ancestors when going through a struggle, or experiencing a joy.

    My health crisis has heightened my awareness of this. I am not afraid to pass from this life knowing that my loved ones have gone before me. i am careful to try and leave the same legacy for my girls.

    Thank you for the chance to openly discuss this topic. It is one that we all think of on remembrance days for sure.

    Thank you,
    Karen

  33. Ahsan

    November 15, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Hello Harleena,

    Death is inevitable to everyone. We generally love to talk about Birth than Death. Everyone afraid to talk death. It is a common scenario. In Islam, we go to graveyard then pray but women cant go there. They should pray from home. Sometime an occasion made every year on his death day. it is a gathering place of all family members.

    Thanks for sharing

  34. Asaolu olubayode

    November 17, 2013 at 1:33 am

    Harleena, that was an explosive post on a very important issue. I’ve not followed rituals but like you said, death is unavoidable which invariably means everybody owe it and we must pay. Thanks

  35. Josh May

    November 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Harleena,

    Very fascinating and interesting article. I personally lost my Grandpa around a year ago from now, and I can relate to this article quite a bit.

    I guess on a joking note, however, with it being right after Halloween it’s not the worst time to talk about death!

    Looking forward to getting to know you more,

    Josh May

  36. Mayura

    November 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Kinda different topic from you this time and I wasn’t aware of different rituals you have mentioned in different cultures 🙂 Not even about East Asians Buddhists.

    As Buddhists (Theravada traditions), we usually have ceremonies following the customs within 3 months of the death. Thereafter, preaches and sermons will held annually and do offerings in the name of dead 🙂 Further, memorial events are taken place on their birthdays and so on. I just love how such events unite people to help others.

    Fortunately, yet I have most of loved ones around me 🙂 But I see my aunts’ remember their parents who died and loved ones who lost when they preach everyday. They offer stuff to the poors and clergies in the name of their loved ones more frequently too. I think that’s wonderful as it’s involved in “giving” 🙂 I do know that it makes ’em feel better too. No wonder how it relates to the health and psychological point of view as you mentioned Harleena 🙂

    BUT I know some people find ’em as a time / money wasting activity and being attached to emotions 🙂 Yeah, dead is dead as they claim. But, as I find, rituals involved with good deeds does more good to the living than dead. Isn’t it?

    Anyway, no one needs to follow religious or any other believes to honor the dead. I guess if we appreciate and value our lives, we tend to respect and honor other lives too 🙂 Hence everyone might honor loved ones when they are alive and no regrets involved even after they are gone.

    Wonderful piece Harleena 🙂

    You have a lovely week over there dear 🙂

    Cheers…

  37. Evelyn Lim

    November 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I find that the practice of doing rituals a great idea! It helps bring closure and also creates an opportunity for us to send loving thoughts to the departed. Having said that, we don’t follow any strict rituals about remembering those who have left us. Still, when we do recall, we talk about the happy memories 🙂 We may not be able to see them but there is no doubt that their spirits visit us every once in a while.

  38. Manickam Vijayabanu

    November 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Harleena,

    Very nice and wonderful article. You did portray very well and touched the real sentiment subject too. Either in India or another country, we all strongly follow rituals in our own style or had been taught by our grandparents and I would say it’s real good.

    Indeed, We are all loved to be sentimental and emotions. No matter where we belong. When we offer our rituals as of gifts, thoughts, and feelings…Yes truly that makes you feel so good and offer happy feeling. As you have mentioned, That’s the way we can show our love, respect and honor to those who kept your life so well and great.

    The contribution could be either spiritual or religious…But I echo you there. Thanks for the wonderful article Harleena..!

  39. Isaiah Joe

    December 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    This is really a very interesting read, i mean, most people believed in spirits, both good and bad. i do. But i don’t give them that much thoughts.

    But believing in dead people and praying to them? why should i do that? i only pray to divine beings.. like God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, apart from the Trinity, there;s nothing worth my time.

    Thanks for this.

  40. Ankit

    December 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Very fascinating and interesting article. I personally lost my friend around a year ago from now, and I can relate to this article quite a bit.

  41. Joan Penfold

    December 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I love your heartfelt post.

    Both of my parents are deceased (don’t like dead as it sounds so permanent to me) but still play a major role in my life. I honor them year round with special gifts to my children from my parents and they treasure these items. I also talk to my mother all the time and when I do a chandelier I have in my home, that was once hers, responds to me by moving and responding to me. I also smell my mother’s presence all the time.

    My Father was a war vet and we are all honored that he (and my mother)are inturned at Arlington National Cemetery and he is honored there year round!

    Thank you for this post.

  42. Zom Boy

    December 28, 2013 at 1:58 am

    I really Like Your article. you have really good and interesting blog article keep it up of good work 🙂

    interesting indeed!

    Wonderful piece Harleena Thank you for this lovely article.

  43. Cararta

    August 24, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Touching post.
    Brings back memories, often in living we get so busy doing that we fail to stop and remember.
    Where I live now in Middle Tennessee Hill country they have a tradition that sends neighbors to the burial place of loved ones to pretty up the grave sites and add new flowers.

    Just called “Cemetery Day” but is a whole day devoted to a shared family meal along with the trip to the cemeteries where loved ones are now resting.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Read more posts in the category: Life & Inspiration




What the Dead Have to Do With the Living

by Harleena Singh time to read: 6 min