If you are planning the funeral of a person of the Hindu faith in the UK, then you should know that there is support out there to help you even if you are not a Hindu yourself or you have never organised a funeral before. Indeed, it is possible for family members in India to take charge of planning a Hindu funeral in the UK if someone they cared for has passed on while in Britain. Helpfully, many British funeral directors are well-versed in Hindu funeral rites and customs nowadays. Here’s what you should be doing if you have the family responsibility to take care of when planning a Hindu funeral.
Select Suitable Funeral Directors
Usually, close family members will prepare the body of a Hindu prior to their funeral. If this is not possible for whatever reason, you’ll need a firm of funeral directors who know what they’re doing in this regard. According to Newrest Funerals, a funeral planning service that operates throughout the UK, finding such funeral directors in large cities like London, Leeds or Birmingham isn’t that much of a challenge but you may need expert help if the deceased lived in a more rural community. You’ll also need funeral directors who can help you to arrange a traditional viewing of the deceased – or a wake – if you are not in the locality at the moment, perhaps arranging the funeral from another part of the country or overseas.
Book a Crematorium
Given that all Hindus will expect a Mukhagni to be carried out after they pass on, this will necessarily involve booking a service at a crematorium in the UK. British law lays down exactly how a body should be disposed of under health regulations so the simplest way to proceed is with a council-run crematorium that is well-versed in these practices. Most are geared up for multi-faith use nowadays.
Find a Suitable Officiant
Contacting the local temple will be a good first port of call if you would like someone with an in-depth knowledge of Hindu funeral rites to oversee the cremation service. Bear in mind that many non-Hindus in Britain would not necessarily know about some of these rites, including what sort of attire to wear, so it is often a good idea to offer a little guidance in this area when informing them of when the service will be held.
Book Somewhere Suitable for the Memorial
The Shraddha is usually held ten days after the body of the deceased has been cremated. It is common for Hindus in the UK to book a table for mourners at a restaurant for this memorial ceremony since it tends to be informal. Make a reservation as soon as you know the date, especially if it will fall on the weekend because this might mean having to limit numbers if it is a busy time.