India is quite popular when it comes to publishing Obituary advertisements in newspapers. Obituary advertising is a very common practice across the country and is different for different communities. India is a highly secular country has different names for Obituary functions. But in spite of the variation in the name and type of Obituary Announcements, the purpose is similar.
Every Newspaper Obituary Ad has divisions which displays the link to the community of the deceased along with the names of family & friends and lineage. The top 5 Obituary sub-categories under which most adverts are published in English and regional language newspapers across India are listed below with description:
Sub-Categories and Types of Obituary Ads
Bhog Ceremony: This Obituary Ad type is an official invitation for friends and relatives for a gathering to pay homage to the deceased. This is a function that is held by Punjabi families wherein family and friends perform the last rites as per Sikh rituals which requires them to read the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’-their holy book. It is performed after 10 days of the death of the individual, following which the entire family with friends sit together and embrace the holy food of God or the Guru’s kitchen also referred to as ‘Langar’ marking the end of the mourning period.
Chautha Uthamna/ Besna/Uthala: Addressed by different names the Chautha/Besna/Uthala marks the ceremony for performing the last rites for the deceased. This ceremony is performed on the fourth day following the death of the beloved by Hindus. The ceremony is held in silence except for the chanting of the Holy Bhagavad Geeta-The holy book of Hindus. In this case, the family with friends and distant relatives gather to mourn the death of the deceased and pray for his/her soul’s peace.
Commemoration Havan: This is a special ritual held by the friends and family members of the deceased person on their birthdays or death anniversaries. The commemoration ‘Havan’ signifies the purifying of the soul and cleansing of all the evils and obstructions if any from the soul of the departed by praying to and pleasing the Fire God. This ceremony is an optional ceremony unlike other Obituary functions and can be held by the family, friends as well as followers, as in the case of great men like Guru Nanak, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Martyrs and more.
Rasam Pagdi: This ritual is in itself a secular ritual as it is common to Hindus, Muslims and even Sikhs. Rasam Pagdi is performed following the death of the oldest family member or the family head while the responsibility is transferred to the next male head. A turban (pagdi) is tied around his head to signify the power and honour vested in him as the family head.
Seventh Day Mass: The Seventh-day mass is a ritual practiced by Christians wherein friends, family members and even neighbours gather at the church following seven days of the death of the individual, and pray for the soul of the deceased. After which the members of the deceased person’s family invite and feed those who attended the funeral and the mass.
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