Funeral rites

The services provided by Separate Ways are aimed at everyone, without distinction, in accordance with religions and funeral rites.

Below are some examples of funeral rites:


Most Protestant religions believe in the idea of an afterlife. Many funerals and memorial services include prayers for the deceased’s soul and for the comfort and support of bereaved people. A typical Protestant funeral includes an introductory speech by a pastor.

If worship is performed in a church, prayers and hymns can be sung throughout the funeral service. The scriptures of the Bible can also be read. Friends or family members will offer souvenirs and the funeral usually ends with a few words from the pastor.

Protestantism provides for a funeral of great simplicity. The funeral rite is not addressed to the deceased, but to the living. It is in fact a reminder of the gift of existence given by God to men. Also, in Protestantism, funerals can be held after the deceased’s burial, without his presence.


Traditionally Catholics prohibited the practice of cremation unless it was made necessary by a contagious disease, finding that it contradicted the notion of resurrection, but this prohibition has been relaxed.

The funeral service is usually conducted by one or more priests, who wear black, white or purple clothing. There are usually three parts or types of rituals involved in Catholic funerals: a wake, a mass and the funeral.

Traditionally and directly after a death, a wake can be held at the deceased’s home.

As soon as the coffin enters the church, the rite of light is often performed. Two members of the deceased’s family light two candles, one on each side of the coffin. This rite is strong in symbolism because Christian hope connote. The Catholic religion does not impose any ritual cleansing after death.

Mass is usually held in the church the day after the vigil. It consists in receiving the body in the church or opening the rites, the liturgies of the word and the Eucharist. The traditional requiem mass is similar to other Catholic masses, except that incense is not burned at the points usually designated.

While acceptance of cremation is increasing among Catholics, burial of the body is even more common. Just before the actual burial, a priest usually officiates in a short ceremony, leading prayers and blessing the grave and coffin with holy water that has been sanctified by a priest or bishop.


Muslims see death as a transition from one state to another, not as an end. They believe that actions follow us into the afterlife. Thus, if Muslims follow the law of the Koran and lead a good life, they will be rewarded in the afterlife. But if they live a dishonest and bad life, they will be cut off from all the beauty of the world. Those who go to Paradise will experience peace while those who go to Hell will experience suffering.

In Islamic funeral customs, the mourning period officially lasts 40 days. Meanwhile, family members only wear black clothes for a full year. The deceased’s wife continues to wear black, but the anniversary of death is not observed. In Islamic culture, death is accepted and considered as a natural part of life. The idea that the deceased has moved on to a life after death is an important belief and helps bereaved people cope with their suffering.

As soon as a Muslim dies, it is customary to close his eyes and cover his body with a clean sheet. It is also important to prepare the body for the funeral as soon as possible. Ideally, the funeral will be held before the next sunset or within 24 hours. Before the funeral, it is traditional to pray for a deceased Muslim, regardless of the age of the person at death. Prayer should arrive immediately after enveloping the body. It usually occurs outside the mosque and prayer room, so prayer should take place at dusk or sunset if possible.


Jewish tradition teaches that human beings are created in the image of God. It is the foundation of all rituals and customs that constitute a Jewish burial. This concept extends to both the deceased and his friends. Each community has its own customs regarding funeral practices. Some customs are dictated by tradition. Others are the result of local laws and regulations, particularly with regard to cemetery rules. Nevertheless, some key concepts are mainly practiced by all currents of Judaism.

Although there is no explicit afterlife in Judaism, many Jews believe that after death the soul of the deceased is judged and those who lead a perfect life are left in the world to come, while those who do not have to wait a year to enter the world to come. Some Jews also believe that when the Messiah comes, each person will be resurrected. When a Jew dies, those who mourn his death must recite the prayer “Dayan HaEmet”, recognizing the power of God as the “true judge”. A rabbi should be contacted immediately, as according to Jewish law, the body should be buried as soon as possible from the time of death, which means that funeral planning begins immediately after death. However, in the modern world, there is a possibility and acceptance to delay burial for bereaved persons and to make the necessary arrangements.

The first seven days after the funeral are known as Shiva, and bereaved people usually stay at home and receive guests to help them pray and think about their loss. Jewish burial traditions, rituals and customs provide for the body to be buried in an ordinary wooden coffin. According to Jewish law, the body is washed and not embalmed.


The Eastern Orthodox religion has different views on life after death than other Western Christian beliefs. For orthodox followers, the idea of a paradise or hell is a more abstract interpretation, rather than real places. Those who love God interpret his eternal presence in the Hereafter as heavenly, while those who do not love God interpret his eternal presence as infernal. Orthodoxy considers death as the separation of the soul from the body. The soul first undergoes a partial judgment, where behaviour and character during life determine the final resting place, heaven or hell.

Wakes are rituals widely practiced in Orthodox funerals and occur before the funeral. They often begin with the first Panikhida, which is a prayer service prepared by the priest, followed by family and friends who read the book of Psalms.

When the coffin is taken from the vigil to the church, a priest carrying a censer will lead a procession of relatives of the deceased to the church reciting the Trisagion hymn. This hymn is sung at the vigil if there is no procession to the church. The funeral normally takes no more than 60 minutes. A priest or bishop will lead the discussions, and a deacon, subdeacon and altar server will all be present during the ceremony. In the church, you can expect to see a plate of Koliva, a traditional dish made of wheat and honey, which will be placed near the head of the coffin, with a lit candle on top. The Koliva is symbolic, with wheat representing nature and honey representing the sweetness of the sky.


According to a tradition established at the death of Buddha, many Buddhists today believe in cremating the body of the deceased. This cremation symbolizes the liberation of the soul of the deceased from his body, so that the soul is free to be reborn. However, this cremation should not take place immediately, as Buddhists believe that consciousness continues to live for several days after the death of the body. A Buddhist burial will probably be ordered according to the ethnic origin of the deceased with specific traditions attributed to both Chinese Buddhism and Thai Buddhism. Buddhists believe in several stages of life after death.

Buddhist funerals are usually simple and dignified, and take place in a Buddhist monastery or family home. Traditional Buddhist funerals take this opportunity to bring family and friends together to remember the loved one. Bright and cheerful colours adorn the coffin, ashes and sanctuary. Often, monks sing during funeral preparation to help release the good energy from the personality of the loved one. The monks remain present throughout the ceremony, leading prayers and singing. Friends and family members provide food and candles to the monks as a sign of goodwill, which will help the deceased in their next life.

Rather than having outsiders take care of the body, family members are often encouraged to clean and dress the body of the deceased. This assures the family that the body is handled with care and respect. No special clothing or jewelry is needed for the funeral, the body should be dressed in clothes that the deceased would have worn on a normal day.