How 5 Different Religions Deal With Grief

Photographed by Nina Westervelt.
Death is one thing everyone has in common. Of course, we are all going to inevitably face death ourselves, but before that, most of us will also have to grapple with the loss of loved ones.

However, what sets us apart is the fact that we all have different ways of mourning and grieving. How we handle death differs not only from person to person, but also from community to community. In particular, the ways we deal with loss can be strongly influenced by our religious backgrounds. Some religions cremate their dead while others prefer burial. Some faiths go through grieving rituals that last long after the funeral, while others prefer to end the observances when the funeral is complete. Traditions within religions themselves can also be incredibly diverse, too, varying from sect to sect and country to country.

Clearly, many of us have certain beliefs and traditions that can soften the devastation of having to grieve for a loved one. So to learn more about mourning traditions across different religions, we spoke to five people from five different faiths — Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism — to get a better sense of the ways their religions handle death.

Whether or not you consider yourself religious, you might just find a tradition that could help you with your own grieving process.

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