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Interesting Death Traditions From Across the Globe

How are death and services done at funeral homes in Oakland, CA? What about in the rest of the world?

Whether you’re working on a research project, satisfying curiosity, or preparing for your eventual passing or the passing of a loved one, this information on interesting global funeral and cremation traditions is here to help. These are just a few traditions from around the world, but they offer inspiration for your own planning and inspire tolerance for those who are different from us.

In Mexico, The Day of the Dead, or el Día de los Muertos, is an annual festival in which people set up altars in their homes featuring photos of their deceased ancestors as well as offerings like food, candles, flowers, and drinks. The idea is that the ancestor photos will summon them from the land of the dead so they can enjoy the offerings and visit with their living family members. Sikhs believe in reincarnation. However, most choose to be cremated when they die. Before cremation, the body is washed and dressed in traditional Sikh attire then placed in a casket while those gathering recite prayers and read scripture from the Guru Granth Sahib. More prayers are recited during the cremation, and afterwards, the remains are either buried in scattered in water. The Malagasy tribe of Madagascar have a tradition called “Famadihana,” which means “the turning of the bones.” Every five or seven years, the people of the tribe will remove the bodies of their deceased loved ones from their graves, wrap them in fresh burial clothes, spritz them with fragrance, and even dance with them. This ritual is viewed as a way to reconnect with the dead and ask them for blessings.

The Nordic people in Northern Europe are very connected to the sea, even in death. They traditionally set bodies adrift on the sea in coffin boats or lay coffins on cliffs facing the water. In the Islamic religion, bodies remain in their caskets until Judgement Day when they will be physically resurrected. Because of this belief, bodies must be buried within twenty-four hours of death to ensure the body is in the best possible condition. In India, the bereaved traditionally dress the deceased in bright colors that represent their best virtues, such as yellow for knowledge and red for purity, and parade them through the streets. Afterward, they sprinkle the bodies with holy water and cremate them.

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While every culture from across the globe might seem very different at first, they each have three aspects in common when it comes to rituals around death: ceremonies, special places for burial or placement, and some sort of memorial or monument. However, some aspects of our culture might seem strange to others just as aspects of other cultures might seem strange to us.

We are also here to help if you want more information on global death rituals or Oakland, CA funeral homes. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss.

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What Can We Learn from Global Death Traditions?

Our traditions for death, funerals and cremation services in Oakland, CA are not the same as those from around the world, but that doesn’t make these other traditions bad or wrong, just different. In fact, there’s a lot we can learn from these other traditions! What do you think we can learn from them? How can they inspire you as you preplan for your passing or deal with the loss of a loved one?

Here are some customs around death and loss that are different from ours, but no less meaningful or beautiful. These are just a few of the many unique death traditions and rituals people practice around the world. In India, most people believe in rebirth until eventual removal from rebirth into nirvana. To help the deceased escape rebirth and enter nirvana, the bereaved scatter the deceased’s ashes in a holy place, such as Varanasi. In Germany, cemeteries are almost exclusively operated by churches and the state, which means there aren’t that many available for burial at any given time. That’s why most cemetery plots are rented for twenty to thirty years. At the end of the rental term, the plot is used for another body.

In the Philippines, the Tinguian people dress their dead in the finest possible clothes and then sit them up in chairs with lit cigarettes for weeks at a time. Iranian people believe that dead bodies defile everything they touch, including the ground and fire. That’s why some sects raise bodies into the sky on towers for the vultures to pick clean. Believers clean bodies with bull urine and cut off the clothing with tools, and then place them on the Towers of Silence.

In aboriginal Australia, the indigenous people believe the spirit of a recently deceased person will go back to the land before it can be reborn into a new human body. After somebody dies, the community holds a smoking ceremony at the deceased’s home in which the attendees use smoke to drive the spirit from the body so it can begin its next journey. Afterward, the body is placed on a platform, covered with leaves, and left to return to the earth in its own time. In Jewish culture, the dead are not left alone between the time of death and the burial.

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The Chevra Kadisha is a group of people, usually amassed from the local communities and synagogues, who wash and shroud the bodies and then sit with them until burial. Traditionally, women will sit with deceased women and men with men. In Kiribati, an island in the Pacific, the local tribes display the cleaned and polished skulls of their loved ones in their homes, but only after the bodies are left out in the house for up to 12 days, buried, and then dug up again for the skull removal.

We are here to help if want to learn more about our rituals and traditions at Oakland, CA cremation services. Call or visit us today to learn more.

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Your Funeral Home Attire Guide

Funeral, memorial, and other service attire can be a minefield of differing traditions and opinions, often leaving guests completely unsure of what to wear. You’re not alone if you’re wondering what to wear to a funeral at a funeral home in Oakland, CA. However, you don’t have to be unsure anymore. Use this ultimate guide to funeral attire as inspiration for your funeral or memorial outfits.

When dressing for a funeral or memorial, you should be aware of some common attire guidelines. For instance, avoid revealing pieces. Shirts and dresses should always cover up to the neck and pants and dresses should go down to the knees. Many traditions also require shoulders and knees covered as well as headwear such as hats for the men and headscarves for the women. As for footwear, avoid athletic shoes like sneakers as well as casual shoes like flip-flops. More causal services may allow t-shirts and other informal wear, but always avoid loud prints or big logos and keep a formal jacket on hand just in case. A general rule of thumb is to dress as you would for a job interview or a church service: conservative, clean, and put-together. The traditional colors worn to funerals are an important aspect of funeral attire. Though not every service calls for dark hues, you will almost always blend in and be appropriately dressed if you stick to the tradition of wearing black, dark grey, or deep blue. Brown shades, lighter grays, and other earthy colors are acceptable for most funeral services. Be sure to avoid bright colors including yellow, red, pink, orange, and white. You can wear white if it’s part of an accessory or worn underneath dark colors, like a white shirt with a dark jacket.

Memorials are more informal events than funerals, but they still require somewhat subdued, formal clothing. When in doubt, err on the side of more formal and more traditional with dark colors and conservative cuts. Celebrations of life are unique services in that they are more casual and upbeat. As such, they have fewer expectations and requirements for dress. Celebrations of life can range from lighthearted memorials to parties with dancing, so be sure to check the invitation for guidance on attire. However, it’s safe to assume that a smart-but-casual outfit will be acceptable.

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Wakes, viewings, or visitations are muted, somber events and therefore require muted, somber clothing. Expectations for attire can range from highly formal to dressy-casual, so be sure to check the invitation or dress according to what you know about the family. Similarly, it’s important to dress respectfully and conservatively at a funeral to honor the deceased and the bereaved. Stick to tradition, avoid bright colors, and, when in doubt, dress like you would for a job interview.

Do you want more guidance on Oakland, CA funeral home or what to wear to death-related events? We are honored to help! Please call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do to help.

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Cremation Traditions in Oakland, CA

Historians believe funeral and cremation traditions date as far back as 60,000 BC, but our modern traditions are very different from the ones back then. How have our traditions changes, and what are the most common traditions around death and cremation services in Oakland, CA?

Here are the most common modern funeral and cremation traditions in America. This is far from a comprehensive list of American funeral traditions. Others include pallbearers, open caskets, embalming, sending flowers, funeral processions, wearing black, and more. You are allowed to choose all, some, or none of these traditions to celebrate the life of your lost loved one. However, the most common include:

  • Burial – A burial is a form of final disposition in which a body is buried in a hole in the ground. Also known as internment, burial is one of the longest-standing death traditions in the United States. Burial first became popular as a way to keep animals away from a body and to protect the living from the smell of the decaying body. However, it quickly transformed into a way to show respect for the dead and as a way for the bereaved to be able to visit the deceased to continue to pay their respects. Interestingly, the “six feet deep” rule is just a myth. There is no nationwide law regarding grave depth, as necessary depth depends on soil type, method of burial, and other factors. The most common depth requirement is 36 inches.
  • ReceptionFuneral services are traditionally followed by a reception or wake at which the bereaved can receive support and comfort from the funeral attendees. Receptions, help the bereaved’s community get together and honor the family. These gatherings can be held almost anywhere, from banquet halls and restaurants to churches, homes, or even parks. The bereaved generally invite all the funeral attendees, but some open it up to the general public or keep it more intimate with only close family and friends.
  • Viewings and Visitations – A visitation is when the family of the bereaved make themselves available for other family, friends, coworkers, and anyone who’d like to come so these people can express their condolences of the passing. Similarly, a viewing is when the bereaved can gather to view the body and express condolences. Viewings are often held at the funeral home, but can also be held in other locations.
  • Funerals – A traditional funeral usually consists of a viewing or visitation followed by a funeral service that includes readings, prayers, and eulogies and is concluded with the body being buried or entombed. What Americans think most of when they think of funerals is the general somber feeling combined with black attire, religious moments, and burial at a cemetery. However, these days, funerals and other services like memorials can be almost anything.

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Do you want to learn more about traditions surrounding death or Oakland, CA cremation services? We are here to help, so please call or visit us today for more information on our services or how we can help in your time of loss or preplanning.

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What Do These Flowers Mean?

Have you ever wondered about the significance of common flowers brought to funeral homes in Oakland, CA? From weddings and births to deaths and funeral home services, flowers have a rich tradition of symbolism in many important life events. Keep reading to learn what common flowers represent so you can choose the perfect bloom to bring to a funeral, memorial, or any other kind of service after a death.

Tulips are generally a spring flower, harkening thoughts of renewal and rebirth. However, these flowers can also be associated with forgiveness worthiness, and love, making them ideal for use at a funeral or memorial. Lilacs, like lilies, often signify youth and innocence. This symbolism makes lilacs a common choice for the funeral or memorial tribute of a young person or someone who had a childlike nature or good heart. With its signature floral scent and youthful appearance, lilies signify purity and innocence. They are often brought to funerals and memorials to represent the idea that the deceased’s soul has become peaceful and innocent in death or that the deceased will be reborn in a new life.

You can’t forget about roses or forget-me-nots. Simply put, roses symbolize love. While different colors of roses have other meanings, the most common theme is one of love. White roses are very common at funerals because they represent rebirth and renewed love as well as pure love. Like their name suggests, these flowers are all about remembrance. Forget-me-nots signify lasting love for the deceased and the idea that the love will always live on in your memories, heart, and mind. This symbolism makes these flowers ideal for funerals and memorials.

The gladiolus flower is very common for funerals and memorials as it symbolized strength, moral integrity, and faithfulness. What about orchids? Orchids are recognized as symbols of everlasting love all over the world. Perhaps this idea comes from orchid’s rarity or maybe from their incredible beauty. But no matter the reason, orchids are always a great choice for a funeral or memorial service to represent your everlasting love for the deceased. Like many flowers, carnations come in different colors. Each color has a different meaning. For example, red carnations depict admiration, white connotes innocence and pure love, and pink carnations convey remembrance. In the United States, chrysanthemums sometimes called mums, represent truth. But in parts of Asia and Europe, these flowers represent death, mourning, and grief and are therefore only used at funerals and memorials.

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What about camellia? With its delicate petals and soft scent, the camellia is a perfect representation of excellence, refinement, and perfection. These flowers are often brought to funerals and memorials of someone respected in their community. There’s also the hibiscus. Often thought of as a feminine flower, the hibiscus symbolizes delicate beauty and fertility. Therefore, its often used at services for beloved wives or partners. Because of its prominence in several island cultures, the hibiscus can also signify an association with Hawaii or Haiti.

We are here to help if you want to learn more about memorials, funerals, or Oakland, CA funeral homes. Call or visit us today.

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What Will Your Legacy Be?

Leaving a legacy can mean two things. First, a legacy can be money or property left to someone in a will. Second, a legacy can also mean the outlook, values, or training that you pass on to other people in your family and beyond. What will your legacy be after your death and cremation service in Oakland, CA?

Leaving a legacy might seem overwhelming, but it’s really as simple as living the way you want to be remembered. No matter which type of legacy you’re referring to, it can be said that a legacy is always creating something valuable in your life that can be passed on to other after your death. You can leave one, either, or both kinds of legacies to help people remember and honor you after you’re gone.

Here are some specific tips for crafting and leaving your legacy. Think about what you want written on your tombstone. Consider how you want to be remembered, and then live that way. You can also be your best before you work on others and share memories. It will be pretty hard to pass on some idealistic torch if you don’t live that way yourself. Think about what matters most to you. Where do you spend your time and money? Those are the things you treasure most, and are most likely going to be what you’re remembered for. For example, if you spend most of your time at work, you’ll be remembered as a hard worker. write a legacy statement.

Consider what others want. You might think that spending all your time at work to provide for your family might be what they want, but it also might not be. Perhaps your children or family would rather have more quality time with you than new toys or a fancy car. Take time to understand what would really make others happy and encourage them. If you don’t know, just ask! You can write down what you want your legacy to be to help guide your actions. Consider what you’ll be remembered for, what characteristics or skills you want to pass down, what traditions you want your family to continue, and a main belief or worldview you’d like to pass on. Then, plan for how you’ll accomplish what you wrote in your statement.

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Work on living your beliefs and ideals. That way, others will be inspired by the example you set and might then choose to live that way as well. The stories you tell reflect your values and make others smile. Tell stories from your life, your family’s lives, and others you remember to make happy memories, reflect your values, and put smiles on people’s faces. Finally, why not give your time to the people you care about? Work, hobbies, and social events can make us busy, maybe even too busy to spend time with those you care about most. Show your loved ones that they’re priorities for you by making them priorities in your schedule.

We are here to help if you want more legacy tips or information on Oakland, CA cremation services. Simply call or visit us today for more information.

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Committals Services

Committal service is a graveside service in which you commit the body to the ground, or bury the body. Committing your lost loved one to the earth or another burial location is a wonderful way to say goodbye after a service at a funeral home in Oakland, CA.

Committal services are generally the final goodbye for the family before the deceased is buried. It’s important to note that you can have a committal service for cremated remains. You can commit the cremated ashes to the ground in a burial urn, or have them inurned in a columbarium niche. In fact, cremation committals often look and feel almost exactly the same as a service for a full body. The urn is often set on a table before the commitment, and some families choose to decorate the table with flowers, photos, and memorabilia.

The origin of the phrase “committal” in this context is thought to have been derived from a burial sermon in the Book of Common Prayer that states, “We therefore commit this body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life.” As the ritual is usually brief, about 15 to 20 minutes, many families choose to have a committal right after the funeral service, but you can have a committal without a funeral or memorial.

Ready to plan a committal? Here are tips. First, pick a burial site. Does your family have a plot with other family members? If so, call the office and reserve a plot for the deceased. If not, do some research and choose a cemetery in which you’d like your loved one to be buried. You can often buy a plot directly from the cemetery or from an individual.

You also need to connect with the cemetery sexton. The cemetery sexton is the person in charge of running the cemetery’s day to day operations. As such, he will take care of the details for the commitment ceremony like making sure the grave is dug and prepared, bringing the casket or urn to the grave and placed on a lowering device, and getting the surrounding area ready for the service with chairs and other decorations. Choose a flow for the service. You must find an officiant to run the committal, whether that means your pastor or priest or even a family member, friend, or other loved one.

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Once you gave an officiant, work with them to choose what you want to service to include, such as readings, prayers, eulogies, or a sermon. If you don’t want a formal service, that’s ok. You can just have attendees say a few short words about the deceased. Finally, keep an eye on the weather. As committals are usually outdoors, the weather plays a big role. Be sure to plan for heat, snow, rain, or wind.

Call or visit us today if you want more tips on committals or information on Oakland, CA funeral homes.

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Tributes for Your Special Loved One

Your lost loved one was incredibly unique. How can you commemorate exactly what made your lost loved one so special after their cremation service in Oakland, CA? Modern families often seek ways to make a service more personalized for the deceased, such as honoring what made the deceased special by celebrating their interests or hobbies.

Take this list of niche tribute ideas as inspiration so you can plan a personalized service to honor and remember your lost loved one. After all, the service should be just as unique as the person its honoring.

For example, who doesn’t love fishing? If the deceased was a big fishing fan, celebrate that in the service by serving fish at the reception, donating fishing kits to local charities in honor of the deceased, or displaying photos of all their great catches. Don’t forget about gardening. Flowers and other plants are always welcome at services, especially if the deceased loved to garden. Celebrate their love of gardening by filling the service with flowers, giving guests seed packets, displaying a casket or an urn with a flower motif, or using a memorial tree urn or casket to bury the remains.

What about photography? From snaps on a smart phone to old-school photo shoots, there are many ways to be interested in photography. Similarly, there are many ways to celebrate the life of someone who loved photography, like displaying pictures the deceased took, playing a slideshow of their work, or encouraging attendees to snap photos and share them. Did your lost loved one like golf? You can easily celebrate golf! If your loved one was a golfer, there are many ways you can include the golfing theme as part of the service, from having the service at the country club and setting out their golf bag as decor to setting up a golf memorabilia table with scorecards, collectibles, photos, and more.

There’s also antiquing! Many people get into antiquing as an expression of their love of decorating, the enjoyment of the style of a particular era, or as a fun way to make a little side money as they discover, fix up, and resell antique furniture and collectibles. If your loved one was into antiques, showcase the hobby at the service by creating an antique scrapbook or decorating the space with some of their favorite pieces. Did your lost loved one enjoy boating or being out on the water? Celebrate that interest with boat-themed touches at the service. For example, you can have the service at a beach or dock, or even on a boat. You could also play tracks of ocean waves, display boat models, or display a large piece of sail cloth for attendees to sign or notate memories of the deceased.

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We are here to help if you want more information on planning unique services with niche tributes or Oakland, CA cremation services. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss or preplanning.

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Funeral Home Trends in Oakland, CA

How will the changes and challenges of the past year affect the funeral and cremation industry?

In 2022 more than ever, a new year will certainly bring new trends in Oakland, CA funeral homes, cremation services, memorials, and more. Here is a list of funeral home trends for this year to inspire your planning and preplanning as well as provide interesting insights.

To begin, there will be a lot of virtual services and personalized services. Virtual funerals, wakes, and memorials became popular in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we predict they will remain popular well into 2022 as virtual services offer many benefits from ease of scheduling to allowing out-of-town family members and loved ones to easily attend. Funerals have slowly been moving away from tradition and becoming more and more personalized to the deceased and their loved ones. Unique, creative personalization of the funeral service has become the new norm. This means you’re free to choose the services, products, and traditions you want for the deceased’s funeral or memorial, whether that means hosting a celebration of life or putting them to rest in a cremation urn that will turn into a tree.

Direct cremation and at-home funerals will be popular, too. Direct cremation is when the body is cremated directly after death without any embalming, wake, or other services. Direct cremation is the most affordable body disposition method, which is perhaps why its gaining popularity. Beyond savings, it also allows the family to hold a memorial, scattering, or any other kind of service whenever they want as opposed to right after the death. What about memorial gardens or preplanning? A memorial garden is a community garden dedicated to the deceased. Oftentimes the dedication is made official through donations and made known through a plaque or a memorial bench. These gardens are becoming more and more popular as ways to remember the deceased and honor them for generations to come. Preplanning or advance planning funeral arrangements is a great trend as preplanning offers many benefits including savings, reduced stress, more control over your own funeral, and the ability to plan a more personalized service.

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DIY is moving from home improvement to funerals and memorials. An at-home funeral is when the memorial or funeral service is held in the home rather than in an official facility. A home funeral cuts down many of the common funeral costs and can be much more eco-friendly, but there are still many benefits to hosting a funeral or memorial at a funeral home. Unlike more traditional burials with embalming, heavily decorated caskets, and imported flowers, natural burials are all about keeping things simple. They use simple biodegradable urns, bamboo caskets, or cotton burial shrouds to minimize environmental impact and increase the speed of decomposition. As consumers, we’re becoming more aware of the affect we have on the environment. This has led to an uptick in sustainable or environmentally friendly funeral and cremation services like green burials, eco-friendly cremation caskets and runs, and a general increase in sensitivity surrounding sustainability and renewal after death.

Call or visit us today if you have more questions on industry trends or funeral homes in Oakland, CA.

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Can Cremation Services Be Death Positive?

When you think about funerals or cremations, you most likely picture somber, dark rooms full of grief, formality, macabre moments, and feelings of loss. Like most, you probably associate death with negative feelings and thoughts. The death positive movement, however, seeks to accept death as a natural part of life without treating it as taboo. Keep reading to find out if cremation services in Oakland, CA can be death positive.

The death positive movement is thought to have first been derived from the work of anthropologist Ernest Becker in his 1973 book “The Denial of Death.” The term “death positive” was later created by coined by author and mortician Caitlin Doughty, who was heavily influenced by Becker. The movement centers around the concept that, as death a natural part of life, we need to be comfortable with talking about, planning for, and generally accepting death. The movement’s leaders give examples including having honest discussions with loved ones and family about the process of dying, what happens to bodies after death, death rituals and traditions, options for burial, funerals, body disposition, and ceremonies to honor a person’s legacy. No matter how or what you do as part of the death positive movement, its main idea is that if we talk about and approach death from an open and honest place, we won’t be so afraid and anxious about it.

Based on this information, yes! Cremation services can be death positive! Here are more of the movement’s integral ideas and beliefs to help you decide if its right for you.

Modern generations are very uncomfortable with death and dead bodies. However, the positive death movement believes that personally taking care of a loved one’s body after death results in open and healthy grief. They also believe green or natural burial options should be available for all. Natural burials are when the body or cremated remains are buried without embalming or a shroud and in a simple pine casket or cremation urn. This does necessitate a quick process after a death, but it is most similar to how our ancestors lost and grieved. Family-centered funerals should be the norm. Instead of written in a will or discussed after a death with a funeral director, end-of-life wishes should be openly and honestly discussed with the family. This encourages positivity and normalcy around death and also helps ensure the deceased’s final wishes are carried out.

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The idea that hands-on participation in the service, body preparation, and burial or cremation can be healing is another core death positivity belief. The death positivity movement also believes in the incorporation of meaningful rituals and ceremony into the activities surrounding a death. Science has shown rituals such as eulogies, readings, songs or singing, donating a body to science, or even the simple act of burial or cremains scattering offer closure, aid in grief, and lead to healthier mourning.

Call or visit us today for more information as we are happy to help if you want to learn more about the death positivity movement or have questions about Oakland, CA cremation services.