Why do Some Hindus host 13 days long mourning?
photo by: Mangal Daydreamer
Hindu funeral tradition is also known as Kriya Karam. It is performed by the son/sons of the family if one of the parents pass away. Or a father will have to perform the ceremony if a male child passes away and so on.
Apparently, back in the days, the mourning period used to be 13 years. Then the people brought it down to 13 months and currently down to 13 days. There are some talks where they are planning to bring it down to 3 – 5 days. Many of our old traditions are changing, as they are not realistically possible to perform in similar ways. I also support the concept because the time has changed since the tradition began and people are adapting. For some of us, if we stop working even for a day, we will have to go hungry and starve. People have bills to pay and it is not as relaxed as it used to be. Our world revolves around money nowadays and without it, the majority of life’s activities are close to impossible.
If you look into other (foreign) cultures and traditions, they pretty much finish the whole ceremony in a day or two. Yet, the Hindu people, especially the people in Nepal, we still mourn the dead for 13 days. Today we are going to discuss the positive reasons behind it. Not the religious reasons but the logical reasons behind it.
Some reasons behind the ceremony are as follow:
1 Allows time to cope with grief and loss:
To come to terms with the loss of a close friend or family can have a huge impact emotionally and mentally. The grieving process needs time and the 13 days of mourning/healing time can help the affected accept the reality of life and be at peace.
2 Allows time to remember the dead:
People are busier nowadays and if we were to finish the ceremony in a day, it will not give the grieving family enough time to mourn the deceased. Besides, a single day is not enough time to reflect the positive deeds of the dead and celebrate his/her life.
Religiously speaking, the 13 days ceremony process is meant to be helping the dead cross the mystical Baitadi River and to a better place (heaven). But logically speaking, it is helping the affected heal psychologically and come to terms.
3 Brings family members, relatives and well wishers closer:
No matter how busy the life is, well-wishers make some time to come and offer support and condolence. This ceremony also helps reshape and re-start old relationships as everyone must come together to help out one another. Some of the scenarios are as follow:
- If there is more than one son in the family, they will have to take part in the ceremony together. They will have to work together and leave out all the disputes and anger if there were any.
- If there were any disputes or dissatisfactions between the neighbours and relatives previously, most people forget the past and help each other out in desperate and most needed time.
4 Helps create better memories of the dead:
Nobody who comes to the ceremony is going to talk bad about the dead, as the person himself/herself is long gone. Many people who come to offer their love and support will have their own positive and fascinating stories about the dead. Some stories can be so unique, they are not even heard by the affected before. They will speak about the experience and how the dead person has impacted them in good ways.
This process helps the affected family and friends reflect on the good deeds of the departed and celebrate his/her memories. Furthermore, hearing all the positive stories helps bring smile and happiness to the affected family.