Funerals are always a difficult time. Unfortunately, such occurrences are an inevitable part of life in Japan just like everywhere else. Nearly all Japanese funerals, or Ososhiki, are conducted Buddhist-style, regardless of what religion the family practices.
Also, almost all involve cremation, to the point that even the local government sometimes bans traditional burials. The Otsuya is very similar to the wake ceremony in many Western countries and is a time when family, relatives, and close friends gather to say their goodbyes to the dead. In this ceremony, the bereaved gather and spend a period of time in the same location as the body of the departed. Many times, a Buddhist priest will chant what is a called sutra while the family and relatives will offer incense at an incense urn in front of the body of the deceased.
In recent years, the traditions around the Otsuya have changed such that those individuals who cannot make it to the actual funeral ceremony can stop by and give their condolences. Be sure to check with the bereaved ahead of time if you do this. When this type of Otsuya is occurring, the start and end times are usually announced and typically begin at 6 or 7PM and last for hours.
Please keep in mind that unless you are a very close friend, you should attend either the wake or the funeral often the day after the wake , but not both. The Ososhiki is the actual Japanese funeral service, and contains several ceremonies. It starts one day after the Otsuya with a Sougi or Soshiki, which is the funeral ceremony itself.
It follows a similar procedure to the Otsuya, with a priest chanting a sutra and the bereaved burning incense. After the Sougi, there is a Kokubetsushiki, or memorial ceremony, where the friends and acquaintances of the bereaved pay their respects to the dead and offer condolences to the family. Lastly, there is a cremation ceremony.
Hindu Funeral Rites
This is a very private ceremony conducted only with the family. After the body has been cremated, the family uses chopsticks to pick the bones out of the ash and place them in a burial urn which is then interred inside the family grave. Black is the color of mourning in Japan.
While in the recent years dark blue and dark gray is becoming more acceptable, black is still preferred over all other colors. By plain, meaning no patterned fabrics, lace, or frills; matte meaning nothing shiny or glittery; and by conservative meaning the dress should cover the knees, not be form-fitting, and have a high-cut neckline. The amount will generally be from 3,yen to 30,yen, depending on the relationship to the deceased, the social and financial status of the mourner and the bereaved family.
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Use your judgment here, but never, ever use crisp new bills, as doing so signifies that you expected the death and thus had time to get new ones. Moreover, never present the money without the proper envelope goreizen, see below. It is better to not give money at all than give it without an envelope! Some people also write their name and the amount of money enclosed in gray ink outside the envelope, and while this it is not good practice according to some, it is actually better to do this as this helps the bereaved family keep track of the offerings.
Do not send condolence flowers, as they are considered inappropriate in most cases.
If possible, though, please take care to bring only what you need. When asking the store clerk, it is better to mention that it is for a funeral, or simply to ask for the kind of envelope you need, called a "goreizen. Upon arriving, you will be greeted by the family members. Make sure that your okoden is out of sight at this point. Look among these lists for common themes, recurring qualities and favorite memories. These particular short stories will be the most meaningful pieces of the eulogy.
The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook
The specific purpose statement conveys the over-arching purpose of the eulogy, and it should be used to guide the selection of what information and stories will be shared and how they will be shared. For example:. Emotions will often ebb and flow during the delivery of the eulogy. Be sure to write down dates and the names of the family members especially close to the deceased so they are not accidently forgotten.
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Have family members or close friends who know the loved one read the eulogy to make sure it does a good job in capturing the essence of the life lived. While it might easily be longer, remember that less is often more. It is easy to feel self-conscious when standing up to share before a group of people. Remember that this is about the loved one. Speak from the heart. The outline and notes will keep the message easy to understand. Before giving the eulogy, simply state your name and describe your relationship to the deceased in a few words for anyone that would not know. My name is Tom. Jim was my best friend since college.