Matters of death and the afterlife have always been considered topics to be avoided. However, these are part of life and should be spoken about openly. What makes these topics even more interesting is that different religions across the world have different beliefs about them. Let us take a look at some of these beliefs:
While beliefs about the afterlife can vary slightly depending on which denomination of Christianity you belong to, most believe that your life on Earth and whether you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord determine whether you end up in heaven or hell. However, in Catholicism, people believe in the presence of a Purgatory, where people who are destined to go to heaven are purified from their sins.
Buddhists believe that after someone dies, they get reincarnated, completing the cycle of life, death and rebirth. In other words, Buddhists believe that after death, they take on another body in the next life. The ultimate goal is to achieve Nirvana or enlightenment so that they can escape reincarnation.
Hinduism preaches that the soul gets reincarnated into a new life form, depending on your actions in your previous life. Hindus believe that you can even get reincarnated in your next life as animals, plants and insects, and not necessarily humans. Similar to Buddhism, the ultimate goal is to escape the cycle of reincarnation and achieve Moksha.
In Islam, people believe that the after death, the journey of our physical bodies on Earth stop. However, the soul continues to live on, as it goes to the Angel of Death, where it waits for Judgement Day. They believe that when the world ends, Allah will resurrect everyone to judge them for their life on Earth and determine if they should go to heaven or hell.
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Putting flowers on the grave of a loved one is a common practice that many people follow. Especially during the holidays you may wish to honor your lost loved one, the person they were and the relationship you shared with them. Placing flowers on their grave is the perfect way to do this.
Flowers carry a lot of meaning and symbolism. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes, and each flower represents something different. While there is no set rule you have to follow when choosing which colors to place on the grave of a loved one it definitely helps to know what the different flowers symbolize.
Below, I discuss different types of flowers, what they represent and what makes them a great choice for remembering your loved one and decorating their final resting place:
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All over the world, different cultures have different ways of remembering their loved ones who have passed. While letting go and living your life after losing a loved one is crucial, it is also equally important to remember them and honor their every once in a while. Here are some festivals around the world that honor the dead:
Halloween - Perhaps the most popular holiday for the dead that is celebrated in different parts of the world, Halloween is actually part of a three day-holiday called Allhallowtide. It is a time meant for remembering the people who have left us, including the saints and martyrs. It is considered to be a Christian holiday even though it is highly commercialized today.
Dia de los Muertos - Celebrated in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos means day of the dead in English. Initially, the festival was celebrated at the start of summer, but after the Spanish colonized Mexico, it was shifted on the same day as Halloween. The Mexicans celebrate this day in a joyful manner, cleaning and decorating their loved ones' graves and gathering with family and friends.
Chuseok - Chuseok, which is celebrated in Korea, is a festival when Koreans honor their ancestors. It is also a three-day long harvest festival. Those who celebrate the festival travel to the hometown of their ancestors and pay homage by cleaning their tombs, offering them food and praying.
Zhongyuan Festival - The Chinese have a whole month dedicated to remember and honor the memory of their loved ones and ancestors who have passed. This month is known as Ghost Month and the festival is called Zhongyuan in China. People perform rituals to help spirits transition and they hold elaborate feasts to celebrate.
Obon - Celebrated in Japan, Obon is a Buddhist holiday when people visit and clean the graves of their loved ones who have passed. Then, to help guide their spirits, lanterns are released and a traditional dance is performed.
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Hymns are perhaps the most popular choice of music in funeral ceremonies. After all, it is easy to find peace and comfort in singing a beautiful, melodious religious song while you say your last goodbyes to your departed loved one. Below, we list out the most popular hymns often sung at funeral services:
In the Sweet By and By
This hymn conjures up images of peace and serenity, reminding us though we may say our goodbyes now, we will meet our loved ones again in heaven. A song that is so strong in faith and hopeful is always a good choice when we need to hear these words the most.
Even though the lyrics of this hymn may have nothing to do with losing a loved one, it is a timeless Christian song that is ideal in any religious event. The song lets us know that we have all been saved by God and helps us give thanks to His “amazing grace.”
Great is Thy Faithfulness
This hymn provides a sense of comfort to those who have suffered a great loss. It reminds them that even though things may change and we may lose our loved ones, Gods love and compassion for us will always remain the same.
It is Well with My Soul
This hymn reminds us that whatever happens, no matter what tragedy strikes us, if we have God, we learn to accept these experiences and instead of letting them tear us down, we learn from them and become wiser and stronger.
Old Rugged Cross
The lyrics of this song are very powerful, yet soothing to those who have lost a friend or a family member. It reminds us that even if our loved one has left this earth, they are now in a better place with God, just like how Jesus died on the “old rugged cross” and went to be with His Father.
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It is a tough - yet, one of the most important - tasks for a family member to plan their end of life. After the demise of a loved one, they can still be immortal through end-of-life planning. It may be sharing stories and life experiences, discussing things previously unspoken, and spending their last days in comfort and dignity. Also, proper planning for the end-of-life may include preparing wills, funerals, advance care directives, and even just helping them consider their legacy.
Applications allow easy and authorized access to your data after death. Here are some reliable end-of-life applications:
Cake allows you to share your end-of-life wishes. Based on the answers to the questionnaire each user profile may be categorized as legacy, legal/financial, health, and funeral. Each category is accompanied by action steps to carry out those wishes.
You can digitize your voice and thoughts in a legal advance care plan, including your health information and end-of-life plans. The information is secure in the cloud and accessible 24/7 anytime anywhere. This allows the doctors to access the patient’s vital information right from his iPhone lock screen.
It is a digital vault for your loved ones, an archive of everything they will need after your death. You can securely store wills, passwords, funeral wishes and more in the sharable vault. Share what you have done, complete your personalized to-do list, upload everything to the vault, and share your plan with your deputies.
This app is a legacy management service. You can store your life stories in the form of meaningful digital content and deliver it in the form of personalized messages accessible by your loved ones in the future.
Applications and websites like these may be great complements to the end-of-life hospice care resources that can be found. Plan your end-of-life with these apps and live forever with your loved ones.
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