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Breaking Down Barriers: Diversity and Inclusion In Funeral Traditions

We do not always say goodbye to our dead in the same way. It’s not a surprise that our funeral traditions and rituals may be unique from that of our guests.

Christians for instance, sing believers’ hymns. Hindus cremate their dead. Muslims perform funeral prayers known as Salat al-Janaza, while Buddhist light up candles and incense – and so on.

So if there are guests from different cultural and religious backgrounds at a funeral event, there’s bound to be conflicts in actions based on individual beliefs.

But that doesn’t have to be.

In this article, we’re going to discuss how we can break down cultural, religious, language, and emotional barriers while promoting diversity and inclusion in funeral traditions.

How To Break Down Social Barriers In Funeral Traditions

Conduct Modern Funeral Services

As the rally for inclusion and oneness increases, there is a growing trend for funerals that are not tied to a specific religion or culture, but based on the impact they have on our environment.

The most common modern funeral these days are green burials and cremation – especially in the Western world. According to Eternal Urns, almost 70% of Australians now elect to be cremated rather than burials as of 2023. 

These burial activities are incorporated into the funeral services and are a big and effective way to overcome the barriers among diverse cultures and religious backgrounds.

However, if they are going for the traditional way, here are some actionable tips;

Educate The Organizers and Guest

If you’re conducting a culturally-diverse funeral event, it helps to inform your guests beforehand so they know to expect and respect the differences at the event.

Also, make sure the funeral organizers are aware of the diversity too. That way, they can prepare their staff and also provide the materials to help with the proper inclusion of culturally diverse guests.

Conducts an Inclusive Funeral Program

Since there will be guests from different backgrounds, the organizers should ensure that everyone can participate in the funeral service process.

This can be done by providing reading materials for various languages, playing music that honors diverse backgrounds, and allowing guests to pray in their unique ways – according to their beliefs.

Provide Interpreters and Translators

Language barrier is another big roadblock in funerals where there are guests from multilingual backgrounds, especially in international funeral services.

The best solution is to hire interpreters and translators to foster communication among attendees that do not speak the same lingo.

It’s also thoughtful to provide a sign language interpreter to communicate with guests – or viewers – with hearing problems.

Hire A Culturally Sensitive Funeral Service Provider

A culturally sensitive funeral service provider is a provider that has trained its staff on the different cultural and religious funeral customs in the community they serve.

They can help conduct a funeral service that embraces diversity and fosters the inclusion of guests from various backgrounds. 

Plus if you want to go the secular way, they can also help you conduct a modern-day funeral service.

Wrapping Up

It’s important to say goodbye to our dead loved ones in an honorable way, and that’s why we conduct funeral services.

However, we also want our friends and well-wishers who may come from various cultural and religious backgrounds to do this with us.

If you follow the actionable tips we shared in this article, you can conduct a funeral service without creating scenarios that may be seen as inappropriate and disruptive for other cultures.

Thus, we can truly welcome our guests to join us in the time of grief and loss to pay the last respect to our dead.

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