Sikh Funeral Service
The Funeral Director and staff at Sahara Indian Funerals in Sydney are highly trained in most religious funeral services. Sikhism is one of the religions that we have extensive knowledge in and we are able to provide a full Sikh funeral service in Sydney to those families that belong to the Sikh faith.
Sikhism was originated in India in the late 15th century and is based on the teachings of the first Sikh guru Nank. Currently in modern day society, there are around 20 million practicing Sikh’s throughout the world.
When a Sikh family is looking for a funeral home and director, they usually look for someone who has a wide knowledge and experience about the Sikh religion so that the ritual and traditions are carried through , honouring their loved ones life. The family of the deceased is looking for a funeral home that will be sensitive to the Antam Sanskar, also known as the right of passage. This is where Sahara Indian Funeral Services in Sydney can be of great help and comfort to you and your family, we are extremely experienced and very sensitive to the needs and requirements of the Sikh religion.
Sikh Funeral Rituals
The Sikh religion believes that the soul itself is not subject to death and that death is only a natural progression to the journey from god. Because the soul never dies, Sikh’s mostly pray at the funeral so that the soul can be released and returned from the bonds of reincarnation back to god once again.
As part of the funeral service, Sikhs prepare a yoghurt bath for the body, all whilst reciting special prayers. After this ritual the deceased is dressed in new clothes. Once the body is dressed there are 5 main symbols that of the Sikh religion, these are of the Kesh, which is of uncut hair.
The next Sikh symbol is Kirpan, this is a Sikh knife that represents compassion and of one’s task to defend the truth. The third symbol is the one of Kara, this symbol is the steel bracelet and the fourth symbol is the Kachera which is the special Sikh Underwear. The last symbol is the Kanga, the Kanga is a small comb that is worn under the turban.
Once the 5 main symbols have been taken care of, and then there is usually a small ceremony that follows at the funeral home before the actual cremation takes place. To start the actual service there is usually an Ardas or community prayer.
The Granthi usually offers a few words, however this is completely optional. There are two main prayers that are said daily by Sikhs, one of which is the Japi and the other is the Sohila. After these two prayers have been recited then the cremation usually begins. Once the prayers have finished the funeral is usually completed, however they can also be said throughout the entire cremation. This service usually lasts around about thirty to sixty minutes. After the cremation there is usually a service at the Gurdwara, however this is completely optional.
The funeral director at Sahara Indian Funerals are always available for you and your family to talk to, in fact we are readily available 24 hours a day, 7 day’s per week, so if you have any questions regarding the preparation of your loved one, or if you would like to discuss the service or cremation please feel free to get in contact with us. We also understand that the family of the deceased will need comforting during this difficult time. We can arrange for the necessary memorial services that you may like to have at home, this of course is completely optional to you and your family.
Many families request readings such as Akhand Path or other readings such as The Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This is usually completed over a 48 hour period when read in Gurmukhi or 72 hour when read in English. Usually this process of the readings is read in turns by various people.
Sahara Funerals know that this time of morning is one of sadness and loss and that usually the families like to remember the good memories of their loved one and that they are returning home to god.
What Happens Before The Ceremony
Keeping in with The Sikh religion, the deceased will always be cremated within three days after the death. It is fair to say that it is appropriate to call the family of the deceased, however the general focus is not on sadness or loss, but rather on the joy and good times and that the body is returning home to god. Before the ceremony, the body is surrounded by beautiful flowers.
More About The Ceremony
To begin with, the pre-cremation ceremony usually takes place at a funeral home, followed by the post cremation service that then takes place at the Gudwara.
The guests usually arrive prior to the service so that they can take their place and be ready for when the service begins. The family usually sits at the front and the guests are usually seated wherever they wish. At the Gurdwara service everyone sits on the floor, usually facing the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book.
Keeping in with tradition, the men usually sit on the left and the women sit on the right, later on if any guests arrive then they may enter quietly and sit anywhere they like. When it comes to the Gurdwara, you may wait at the entrance until the Ardas or community prayer ends and everyone has been seated again.
Every family is different, depending on the Custom of the Sikh family, the body may be open for visitation before the funeral ceremony. As a guest you are not required to view the body, it is simply your choice, if you go to see the deceased, then offer a short prayer for the soul. When this takes place, the family usually will attend the ceremony only and nor before. When a family member arrives it is polite to offer your condolences.
At Sahara Indian Funeral in Sydney we are well aware of the customs and rituals that take place at Sikh funerals and highly sensitive and towards the family and deceased needs. We also know that there usually is only one person that is the major official of the ceremony, this is usually a close family member.
Officials at the funeral ceremony usually lead and recite the prayer in the Gurwara. The Granthi or Giani Ji, is the person who reads the Hukam from the the Sri Guru Granth Sahib which is usually chosen randomly by the reader.
To begin with the reading is usually read in the original Gurmukhi language and then later translated to English or the main language of the congregation per the request of the family.
Next, the attendants and the religious people who sit behind the Guru Granth Sahib, who wave the Chori, the long handled brushes that are made from horse hair, take away the scriptures and put them away safely. The attendants are also present to assist in any way they can and to serve a sweet Indian pudding called Prasad at the end of the service.
To praise god, Kirtanis and musicians are present at the ceremony so that they can lead the Sangat in the Kirtan. Along with the Kirtanis and musicians there is a master of ceremonies. This person is responsible for announcing guest speakers and how the order of service will progress. Quite often the master of ceremonies role is fulfilled by the Gurdwara’s secretary or the Granthi.
Usually when the order of ceremony is held at a funeral home, there is no particular person who instructs the order of the ceremony. However the Gurdwara service may have a written program and possibly the master of ceremonies may make announcements from on occasions.
If you are a non- Sikh, then there are no real expectations of you, except to stand and sit at the same time as everyone else does. Non –Sikh attendants are not expected to sing or bow or except the sweet Prasad pudding. In the Sikh religion the sweet pudding is considered a blessing.
Once the cremation commences, usually only the family members attend as the cremation can last many hours. To commence the cremation the Arda, the community prayer is recited and the minister usually offers prayers and says a few words. The Japji and the Kirtan Sohila are recited and the cremation begins. Usually guests don’t attend or participate unless the family of the decease invites them.
Sahara Indian Funerals in Sydney, will be able to help guide you and the family through all of the funeral arrangements and associated costs. They can guide you through all of the ceremony and cremation arrangements that need to be made prior to the funeral. Our highly experienced funeral director and friendly helpful staff are always there for you and your family. It is our honour to guide you through this difficult time and assist you in making the decisions that need to be made.
When attending a Sikh funeral appropriate clothing should be worn at all times. For males a suit with a tie is recommended or modest clothing to show respect, any colour choice is suitable. Shoes are permitted inside the funeral home, however not within the Gurdwara service. Your head should be covered with either a hat, scarf or turban.
Women should modest clothing, your legs should be covered, any type of long dress, skirt or pant suit would be expectable. Comfortable clothing is recommended as you will need to sit cross legged on the floor. You may wear shoes in the funeral home. However you will need to remove your shoes before entering the Gurdwara. Your head should be covered with some type of covering such as a scarf, dupatta or hat. The colour of your attire is optional, any colour would be suitable.
Sending flowers to the deceased family is appropriate and always welcomed. If you would like to choose a charity to make a contribution to on behalf of the deceased please check with the family. This is much appreciated, however not expected in any way. You may bring food with you, however please keep in mind that food items such as meat, fish, eggs and alcohol is not permitted.
We Are Here To Help
At Sahara Indian Funerals in Sydney we welcome you to call us day or night to enquire and discuss with us any questions you may have. We are available to you and your family and are more than happy to assist you with any questions you may have. This includes before the ceremony and cremation, during the progression of the funeral and after the cremation ceremony.Please call us day or night we are here to take your calls 24 hours a day, 7 day’s a week.