Everyone will eventually experience grief and loss following the death of a loved one, and these feelings are expressed differently across cultures. Cultures are made up of beliefs, traditions, values, and ritual that that influence how we react to a death. Following these beliefs offer individuals a sense of stability and security and helps people who are dying and their loved ones cope with loss.
Cancer.net explains that in each culture, rituals surround death and customs that help people grieve and mourn. Rituals offer people ways to express their grief and provide opportunities for community members to support the bereaved. Death creates chaos and confusion, and rituals provide a sense of predictability and normalcy for both the bereaved (people in a period of grief and mourning after a loss) and the wider community. Rituals and customs provide a set of directions that help structure the time surrounding death and prescribe people’s roles during this time. Rituals and customs help address the following issues: •
How the dying person should be cared for as he or she approaches death, including who should be present and what ceremonies should be performed at the moments before and after death •
How the body should be handled after death, including how the body should be cleansed and dressed, who should handle the body, and whether the body should be buried or cremated •
Whether grief should be expressed quietly and privately or loudly and publicly, including whether public crying or wailing is appropriate •
Whether people of different genders or ages should grieve differently •
What ceremonies and rituals should be performed and who should participate, including children, community members, and friends •
How long family members are expected to grieve and how they are expected to dress and behave during the mourning period •
How the deceased should be remembered over the lifetime of the family, including ongoing rituals to celebrate or communicate with the...
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