In Nepal, people cry buckets when someone dies. The dead is cremated in a funeral pyre which is lighted by immediate male relative. In a good news, these days a lot of women are performing the last rites for their deceased relatives as well. After the body is turned into ashes, it is placed into a pot and flown in river as a part of Hindu belief that their soul will be transported to heaven and will escape the cycle of rebirth. The whole cremation process is very raw. The body is cremated alongside holy river and some water from the river is placed into the mouth of the deceased as a part of final rites. Before placing the body on pyre, all clothes are taken off, with the Hindu belief that one goes naked as he comes naked to his world.
This whole process deeply irked me when I was a child. Even now, but since I don’t live in Nepal anymore I don’t have to witness it. Since the bodies are cremated in a famous Hindu temple on the banks of a holy river in Kathmandu, I couldn’t escape it during my childhood visits to the temple with parents. As a result, going to that temple was always a surreal experience.
Here in the West, I see that the mourners dress well and are rarely seen wailing as opposed to how it is done back in Nepal. In Nepal, dressing up is also not encouraged at all at the time of mourning and plain white clothes are preferred. The cladding of the dead in nice clothing and makeup here is also pretty different from what I’m used to. While every process or culture has its share of pros and cons, I like how there is always a place to come back to and leave flowers and remember the passed one here. We don’t have that option in Nepal and once the person is dead, all we have left is memories. This is due the Hindu belief in reincarnation i.e the soul takes birth in another body, and the physical state is useless after death.
While the cremation saves the trouble of space and is handy in crowded cities, it also contributes significantly to the land, water and air pollution of the area. There should be more organized ways of doing it keeping in mind the environment. On the other hand, burial means that you can always come back to the grave and remember the passed one.