Our Services > Types of Funerals
We cater for all cultures and understand and respect the cultural variations with regards to funerals. If you are unsure as to what to expect from a different cultures funeral please read our short guide below so you will know what to expect.
It has been estimated that there are around 220 Christian denominations in the UK, and due to this funeral rituals may differ from church to church.
Dark clothes are traditionally worn to the funeral, including a black suit and tie for men, as a sign of grief, though occasionally bright clothes may be worn as a celebration of the person's life. Generally, Christians believe in resurrection and the continuation of the soul, usually dependent on how the Christians life was lived.
In this faith the body is placed in a coffin, which is sometimes left open so the family and friends can say goodbye to their loved one.
The coffin will then be taken to a church or chapel or occasionally, straight to the crematorium. At the designated site a priest will read from the Bible . The priest will also say a few words about the person, which are designed to comfort the mourners, as grief is openly expressed at a Christian funeral. Prayers follow, stating that the person will now be in heaven.
Sikhs view death as a separation of the soul from the body and is considered part of God's will. Sikhs believe that the relatives should not express their grief and so wailing and any other visual signs of anguish are kept to a minimum.
Cremation is the accepted form of disposal of the body. The body is bathed and dressed in fresh clothes. A member of the family will traditionally light the funeral pyre but in Britain it is more usual for a family member to push the button for the coffin to disappear.
Men traditionally wear black headscarves to the funeral and women wear pale coloured or white headscarves. Ashes are collected and scattered in water or deposited in a place of sentimental value. Sikhs do not hold any river as holy but may deposit the ashes in a place of sentimental value.
After the cremation guests return to the family home and readings are given and hymns sung. Neighbours and families make a substantial meal for the bereaved family. Everyone must bathe as soon as they go home to cleanse themselves. A candle, jot, is burned in the home. This is made from Ghee (clarified butter) and cotton and has a sweet smell. This cleanses the home.
The mourning period lasts between two and five weeks.
Traditionally loved ones and relatives of the deceased are to observe a 3-day mourning period. Widows observe an extended mourning period, which lasts for 4 months and 10 days. During this time, the widow is not to remarry, move from her home, or wear decorative clothing or jewellery.
To prepare for burial, the family or other members of the community will wash and shroud the body. The deceased is then transported to the site of the funeral prayers. The prayers are generally held outdoors, in a courtyard or public square, instead of inside the mosque.
The deceased is then taken to the cemetery for burial. While all members of the community attend the funeral prayers, only the men of the community can accompany the body to the grave. If available, a whole cemetery, or a section set aside for Muslims is preferred.
The departed is laid in the grave (without a coffin if permitted by local law) on his or her right side, facing Mecca.
In Jewish tradition, seven immediate family members are expected to directly monitor the mourning period of seven days: the mother, father, son, daughter, brother and sister, (including half-brother and half-sister), and husband and wife.
During these seven days the bereaved must not wear leather shoes, wear make up or use perfume, shave, take haircuts, bathe, and no marital relationships take place.
It is tradition for the burial to take place as soon as possible, even on the same day of the death, but no more than two nights after the death.
When the coffin is taken to the graveside, it is considered a great honour to shovel the gravel on top of the coffin. A symbolic tear (Keriah) can be made in the mourner's clothes, to symbolise a broken heart. It is not customary to bring flowers to the funeral as it is to be kept as simple as possible.
It is customary for Jewish people to only use wooden coffins because Judaism belief is to not preserve the body because as the body decays, the soul ascends to Heaven.Traditionally an official year of mourning occurs, and in this year certain communities will have special customs that will take place.
Hindus believe in reincarnation and see death as the soul moving on to reach Heaven or Nirvana. Hindus both mourn and celebrate the loss of their loved one, by focusing on the path the soul takes to heaven.
Family members will pray around the body as soon as possible after death. The corpse is usually bathed and dressed in white, traditional Indian clothes. If a wife dies before her husband she is dressed in red bridal clothes. If a woman is a widow she will be dressed in white or pale colours.
Hindus cremate their dead, as they believe that the burning of the body signifies the release of the spirit and that the flames represent Brahma, the creator. The eldest son is usually the Chief mourner and represents the whole family when saying goodbye. He and the other males may shave their heads as a sign of respect.
After the cremation, the family may have a meal and offer prayers in their home. Mourners will wash and change completely before entering the bereaved house after the funeral. A priest will visit and purify the house with spices and incense.
The funeral marks the beginning of a 13-day mourning period when friends will visit and offer their condolences.
It is estimated that there are around 570 different forms of Buddhism. There are very few traditional methods of funerals as they are seen as non-religious events.
The main focus is the departed's state of mind leading up to the death. Buddhists agree that the body is just a physical shell and share the Tibetan view that the spirit of the deceased will undergo re-birth, usually after 49 days.
Cremation is the accepted form of burial in Asia, as the Buddha himself was cremated. A simple service is held at the crematorium where Buddhist readings may be recited.
Humanists believe that this is the only life we have and their funerals are non-religious and are constantly evolving.
Humanists both acknowledge the death and life of their loved one in a non-religious way. Each funeral is personally tailored to suit individual's needs, and the wants of the family are taken fully into account.