When considering offering a gift in memory of the deceased, it is difficult to know all of the customs and rituals that each religion or tradition may observe. There are several items to bring or send that would express appropriate condolences to a grieving family in the Shinto religion. The type of gift is often dependent upon the relationship shared with the deceased and family.
The Shinto faith has influenced the harsher side of mourning and death. Japanese mourning is a slow process that people experience together. The first response to tragedy and death is to take care of the immediate details and needs in a practical and efficient manner. After the needs are met, family and friends together can process the loss of a loved one. Shinto beliefs would teach that ritual and traditions of the past provide the proper pathway to guide someone through the difficult days of mourning and grief.
For many, an integral part of the grieving process is visiting the cemetery and grave site of the deceased. The opportunity to visit the final resting place of the loved one demonstrates honor, respect and dignity. In the Shinto faith, which respects the contributions of ancestors, visiting the grave becomes not just remembrance but worship.
Shinto is Japan’s oldest religion and has a presence in the modern Japanese civilization. Even more, many Japanese Buddhist sects add elements of Shinto beliefs and rituals to their practices. Shinto funeral customs are not written down, but are traditions that have been handed down through the centuries. Proper preparation for a Shinto funeral takes meticulous planning and execution as there are twenty specific ritual commands to be followed.