Describe and analyze a funeral ritual associated with any religious tradition. You can choose to describe a generic funeral ritual, or a specific ritual that you have personally attended or that has been described to you by someone who attended. Your description can be based on textual research (in which case, please include references for your material) or an interview with an elder or spiritual leader in your own religious community or any other (please name the person and explain who he or she is). The analysis is to be your own.
Description: approx. 1 – 2 pages
1. Identify the religious tradition including the specific sect or group.
2. Identify and describe the place or places where the ritual takes place. Is the place used otherwise for religious worship and if so, is it made to look any different for a funeral?
3. Describe the participants. Who would be attending this ceremony? How are they seated or placed?
4. Describe the person or persons who lead the ceremony and explain their role.
5. Describe the ceremony. How long is it? What is the procedure of the ritual? Is any particular part more important than another? What would be the high point of the ritual? What kinds of symbolic objects are used? Explain the symbolism. What language would be used in the ceremony? Give an example of the liturgy. Is there music? If so, what kind (choral, instrumental) and when is it used? Is there a
sermon or speeches or eulogy? If so, what would be the theme? How much and what do the participants have to do with the actual ritual?
Analysis and conclusion: approx. 1 – 2 pages
1. Discuss how the process and symbolism of this funeral ritual relates to or reflects some of the teachings and ideas of the religious tradition regarding death and afterlife. Provide a quote from the sacred writings or songs of this tradition to support your explanation. Note any contradictions that you may find between the belief system and the funeral ritual.
2. In your conclusion (half page) comment on your own feelings regarding this ritual. Would you be comfortable with this ritual as it stands for yourself? Or, if you were to change it, how would you change it and why?