Sikh Funeral

Antam Sanskar Ceremony (Death Ceremony)

In Sikhism, death is a natural part of living and God's will. It is part of the cycle toward complete unity with God. Sikhs believe in reincarnation and karma. They prefer cremation, though other methods of disposal, including burial in the ground or at sea, is allowed if cremation is not possible. Because the body is considered an empty vessel, Sikhs do not place gravestones at the burial site.

The death ceremony can be divided into two parts: Sanskar, which is the cremation, and Antim Ardas, the final prayer before the end of the ceremony.

The body is washed then clothed by family members; a turban or scarf covers the head. Once the body is at the cremation grounds, mourners recite prayers and sing hymns. Once the cremation begins, the Sohila, a bedtime prayer, is recited, followed by Ardas, a formal prayer. Ashes can be given to the family or thrown into a body or water.

In the days following the cremation, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is read, timed to conclude on the tenth day after the ceremony. The reading, which can take place either at home or in a place of worship, provides spiritual support and consolation to family and friends, is called the Sahaj Path. The mourning period ends with the conclusion of this ceremony.

Crying out, wailing, or other public displays of emotion are discouraged. As a guest at the service, you will be expected to take off your shoes and cover your head with a piece of cloth. Men wear black headscarves, and women wear pale colored or white headscarves.

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