Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 11.21.2022

What to Wear to a Hindu Funeral: Attire and Customs

what to wear to a hindu funeral


Cross Checked By: SCOTT GINSBERG

5 min read


When attending a Hindu funeral, it's essential to show respect for the deceased and their family by wearing appropriate attire and understanding the customs involved. In this guide, we will explore Hindu funeral attire and customs, providing insights into what to wear to a Hindu funeral and how to behave during this solemn ceremony.

A Multi-Religious India

While many people view India as a homogenous entity, it is actually a secular nation with many religions that follow a variety of religious practices. There are large swathes of the population of people that follow Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism in particular. It is crucial to be aware of the different cultural traditions so that you may follow them appropriately depending on the funeral service you are attending. Sensitivity at such a difficult time is key, and you would not want to offend anyone’s sentiments. Online resources and well-informed family or friends can guide you in correct funeral etiquette, dressing, and courtesy. 

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What is A Hindu Funeral

A Hindu funeral service is one which is keeping with the traditions and beliefs of Hinduism. Hinduism believes that after one’s death, they are reincarnated. Their reincarnation form is determined by their behavior in their life, also known as karma. This process of rebirth eventually concludes in attaining ‘moksha’ or total peace. One is expected to live in accordance with good and righteousness so that they may be reborn and attain moksha. As a result of this belief in reincarnation, upon someone’s passing, they are cremated as soon as possible. There is no embalming done as the body is rapidly cremated. The cremation usually takes place within 24 hours of the death, and traditionally women are not allowed to attend this ceremony.

Prior to cremation, the body is kept at home, with loved ones coming to offer their condolences and say goodbye. The body is adorned with flowers and simple white cloth, with Hindu prayers being recited. After cremation, ashes are to be scattered in the holy river Ganges, but they are often scattered in a nearby body of water as well. The mourning period after death lasts 13 days, during which a framed photo of the deceased is placed with flowers. 

What To Wear to a Hindu Funeral

White is commonly worn to Hindu funerals, to simplify purity and rebirth. White demonstrates respect towards the bereaved. Black is seen as an offensive color to wear at a Hindu funeral. Guests usually wear simple traditional clothes such as sarees and kurtas. Footwear is taken off, and flashy jewelry is avoided. If a Hindu funeral is being held in the United States of America, it is best to check the dress code so you can dress appropriately.

Hindu Funeral Attire: One of the most crucial aspects of attending a Hindu funeral is wearing the appropriate attire. It's a sign of respect and cultural sensitivity to dress correctly. The primary considerations for Hindu funeral attire include:

  • Sari or Kurta Pajama: For women, a traditional Indian sari or a modest kurta pajama is a suitable choice. These outfits are respectful and elegant.
  • White or Earth Tones: Hindu funerals are generally somber occasions, so it's advisable to wear white or earth-toned clothing to symbolize mourning and purity.
  • Modesty: Regardless of gender, it's essential to dress modestly. Avoid flashy or revealing clothing.

What to Wear to a Hindu Funeral: When deciding what to wear to a Hindu funeral, it's crucial to remember that the focus is on simplicity and respect. Keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Minimal Jewelry: Opt for minimal jewelry when considering Hindu funeral attire, as excessive adornments can be seen as disrespectful.

  • Head Covering: Some Hindu traditions require covering one's head during religious ceremonies. Be prepared to wear a headscarf if needed.

  • FootwearIt's customary to remove shoes before entering the funeral venue. Clean, comfortable socks are a good choice.

Indian Funeral Attire: If you're attending an Indian funeral, whether Hindu or of another Indian religion, adhering to the customs of Hindu funeral attire is generally appropriate. The guidelines mentioned above apply to Indian funeral attire as well.

Cultural Etiquette

Hindu funerals customarily have the body visible for viewing. Guests are expected to do this quietly without touching the body out of respect. Guests do not usually bring food or flowers. It is incredibly important to be fully aware of traditions before attending a funeral.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you wear jeans to a Hindu funeral?

Answer: It's advisable to avoid wearing jeans to a Hindu funeral. Hindu funeral attire typically involves wearing traditional and modest clothing as a sign of respect for the deceased and their family

  • What's not appropriate to wear to a Hindu funeral?

Answer: Avoid wearing jeans, flashy colors, revealing outfits, heavy makeup, or excessive jewelry. Opt for traditional and modest attire in subdued colors as a sign of respect.

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By respecting Hindu funeral traditions and attire, you can contribute to a peaceful ceremony, allowing your loved ones to grieve with dignity. Consider pre-planning your ceremony with Titan Casket. We can help you start your pre-planning journey by pre-ordering a casket. You can get the benefit of locking in today’s rates, as well as the flexibility to pay for the casket upfront or in installments.