An important part of the grieving process in any religion is to honor the deceased by remembering the loved one and visiting the body’s final resting place. Religions and cultures often have rituals and traditions about how often and when the cemetery should be visited. Many religions stress the balance of respecting the memory of those who have passed away with continuing living life with a hope for the future.

Respect & Remembrance

Hinduism has many sects and strands of beliefs and traditions. Many of those traditions include cremation as the means of preparing the body for its final resting place. The ashes are placed in an urn and returned to the family home for the initial period of mourning, usually lasting thirteen days. Family and friends who wish to pay final respects to the immediate family and honor the deceased do so by visiting the home during those days.

At the end of the mourning period, the ashes are often scattered into a significant river in the Hindu tradition. On anniversaries or significant holidays, it would be appropriate to go to the river and remember the deceased. The constant movement of the river could be a reminder of the constant flow of the cycles of life. The thoughts could include the contributions the deceased made to the lives of those in the family and community.

In certain circumstances Hindu traditions allow for the burial of the body. This often involves younger children, older individuals who lived saintly lives, and some other special circumstances. Visiting the cemetery and grave site of the deceased is a meaningful way to show respect for the departed and to allow the family to be assured that their loved one is not forgotten.

The grave site may be visited on an anniversary, holiday or any time that is meaningful for the individuals who are mourning. Flowers are always an appropriate symbol of respect and remembrance and may be placed at the grave site. Hindu traditions would not prohibit visiting the cemetery during feast times, though some holidays would be less appropriate than others because of the nature of the celebration.


An important time to remember the deceased is on the one-year anniversary of the death. The immediate family often has a special memorial service in the home where family and friends gather for a time of prayer and chanting, remembrance and consolation. Visiting the cemetery or river on this day would be an appropriate way to show respect.