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Bengali Rituals After Death – Know Death Rituals Of Bengal!

Bengali rituals after death are deeply rooted in tradition and culture, reflecting the spiritual beliefs and values of this vibrant community. These rituals hold profound significance, guiding the departed soul’s journey and providing solace to grieving families. In this exploration of Bengali post-death customs, we will delve into the various rituals and ceremonies that mark the end of one’s earthly journey and the beginning of their spiritual one. These age-old traditions not only honor the departed but also offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Bengali heritage and spirituality.

In accordance with Hindu customs in Bengal, the passing of a family member initiates a period of ritual penance, which varies in duration among different communities, often spanning ten to fifteen days. During this time, the family observes a diet of simple, pure, and strictly vegetarian food, devoid of excessive spices. 


Bengali Rituals After Death

Traditional Beliefs:

Following the penance period, the final obsequies take place. At the cremation ground, the eldest son assumes a significant role. He performs a ceremonial bathing of the deceased’s body and drapes it in a fresh, unstitched cloth. The body positione facing south, adorned with garlands, and anointed with fragrant sandalwood paste. The eldest son then takes on the solemn responsibility of igniting the funeral pyre, marking the final farewell to the departed soul.

In the event of a terminally ill individual nearing the end of life, a customary practice in Bengal involves relocating the person from their room to the courtyard, often beside the sacred Tulsi plant. In this solemn setting, the eldest son and other family members gently offer drops of water to the ailing person, providing comfort and solace during their final moments.

Traditionally, a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a revered scripture, is placing upon the chest of the deceased, symbolizing spiritual guidance and blessings for their onward journey. In the case of a married woman’s passing, her body is adorned with a sari featuring a distinctive red border, and her forehead is reverently marked with vermilion. These rituals are meticulously observing before the body is prepared for cremation.

In Bengali customs, unique rituals are observed in various situations related to death. Children are typically buried, while pregnant women and their fetuses are cremated separately. Widows wear white saris as a symbol of mourning.

The thirteenth day after death marks a significant event known as “Shraddha.” Relatives gather for a solemn feast, honoring the departed soul’s journey and seeking blessings for their peaceful transition. Sharing this meal signifies unity, support, and remembrance in these Bengali death rituals.

There are some age-old rituals that followes to the Bengalis and Hindus they are as follows:

1. Asthi Visarjan:

Asthi Visarjan, a sacred ritual, involves the reverent act of immersing the ashes of a departed loved one into a consecrated body of water. Typically, these ashes carefully places within a biodegradable urn or container before their final journey into the water. This poignant and deeply symbolic ritual often undertake by the family and close friends of the deceased as a profound gesture of respect and remembrance, allowing the departed soul to merge with the sacred elements of nature and find eternal peace.

Asthi Visarjan, steeped in Hindu tradition and spirituality, serves as a profound expression of gratitude and reverence for the departed. According to Hindu scriptures, a soul finds complete rest only when it receives its final respects, making this ritual an essential religious obligation. It is crucial to perform Asthi Visarjan promptly and according to a scheduled timeline.

The immersion of ashes in the sacred Ganga or other consecrated waters is believing to provide spiritual and emotional support to the departed soul. It is thinking to aid the soul in regaining consciousness and achieving “moksha,” the liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, thereby putting an end to the soul’s repeated journeys through life and death.

Asthi collection for the ritual must occur three days after the individual’s passing to be considered a part of this sacred practice. This adherence to tradition underscores the significance and timing of the Asthi Visarjan, providing solace and spiritual fulfillment for both the departed and those who perform this act of reverence.

Meaning and significance: 

Asthi Visarjan is a sacred practice encompassing the respectful disposal of a person’s ashes following their demise. This ritual holds immense significance in Hinduism, aiding the soul of the departed in its transition to the next life.

Typically, Asthi Visarjan involves scattering the ashes in a place that holds special significance to the deceased, whether it be in a body of water or on land that carries personal meaning. Among these sacred locations, the Ganga River stands out as particularly revered by Hindus. Ashes from the deceased are often immersing in the holy waters of the Ganga, a gesture believed to facilitate the soul’s journey to the afterlife.

The act of placing Asthi over the remaining bone or ashes of departed relatives is another notable custom. Immersing these ashes in holy rivers, such as the Ganga, carries diverse interpretations and significance based on individual circumstances. It is believed that this ritual offers salvation and happiness to the souls of the departed, allowing them to find peace and fulfillment in their afterlife.


Bengali Rituals After Death

2. Eating veg after death: 

In India, the customs surrounding death and bereavement deeply roots in tradition and culture, and food plays a profound and symbolic role during these solemn times. When death touches a household, all aspects of daily life, including culinary practices, are simplified and pared back as a mark of respect and mourning.

Among the Bohri community, grieving family members partake in a specific meal consisting of moong pulao and a cold soup known as sarki. This soup crafts is using moong water, to which a blend of spices, spring onions, peanuts, and cashew nuts add, along with a light kadhi. Moong, known for its cooling properties, believes to soothe the mourning soul by lowering body heat. In Assam, Hindus similarly adhere to a strict diet comprising fruits and mah prosad, a mixture of soaked green moong dal and chickpeas, during times of mourning.

Dal, rice, and potatoes emerged as staple foods across various communities during these periods, as they offer essential energy. Bengalis, for instance, opt for a simple meal of dal, rice, and alu seddho (boiled mashed potatoes), while Muslims often consume bhati, typically consisting of baghara chawal (tempered rice) and dal. Interestingly, many communities refrain from including garlic and onions in their meals during this period, reflecting the solemnity and purification associated with mourning customs.

Bengali Rituals After Death

3. Tehrvi Rasam:

Tehrvi Rasam holds a significant place in the customs surrounding the passing of a loved one. Observed on the thirteenth day following the loss, this ritual serves as an occasion for family members and friends to come together and offer their condolences to those who are mourning.

During Tehrvi Rasam, religious offerings and prayers are conducting to provide solace and peace to the departed soul. This event carries deep spiritual and emotional significance, as it allows the grieving family and the community to come together, share their support, and pay their respects to the individual who has departed from this world. Through these rituals and offerings, the aim is to honor the memory of the deceased and facilitate their journey to the afterlife with the blessings and prayers of their loved ones.

Remembering the departed soul through the observance of Tehrvi Rasam offers a profound array of benefits, both spiritual and emotional. This sacred ritual not only grants the noble soul a peaceful rest but also bestows well-being and good fortune upon the descendants. Through Tehrvi Rasam, family members have the opportunity to connect with their ancestors, seeking divine blessings and guidance. In doing so, this cherished tradition ushers in a sense of peace and prosperity, providing solace and continuity during a time of mourning while fostering a deep connection between the living and the departed.

Bengali Rituals After Death

4. Shraddha:

The act of Shraddha serves a dual purpose, not only settling debts to our departed ancestors but also facilitating the repayment of obligations to deities and revered sages. Ancestors’ debts, typically fulfilled through actions, find a straightforward avenue for settlement within the Shraddha ritual. Thus, by honoring these obligations to our ancestors, we establish a vital connection bridging the realms of God and Sages, satisfying them through these rituals, and embarking on a path toward spiritual advancement and eventual liberation. Through the practice of Shraddha, guided by the souls of our ancestors, we gradually progress toward communion with the divine and the wise. Furthermore, the combined support of Vasu (aspirations), Rudra (dissolution), and Aditya (radiance or action) imparts momentum to our forefathers and, in return, garners blessings from the divine realm.

Bengali Rituals After Death

General Customs:

Hindu funeral customs, including those in Bengali traditions, encompass a rich tapestry of rituals and practices that vary among families and regions. Nonetheless, several common traditions persist at the majority of Bengali Hindu funerals, reflecting deep cultural and spiritual significance.

  • Proper attire is a hallmark of Hindu funeral etiquette, with attendees typically wearing white clothing that strikes a balance between casual and ornate.
  • The recitation of prayers, hymns, and mantras plays a pivotal role in the funeral ceremony. These spiritual practices generate positive energy, facilitating the soul’s departure from the body at its highest state.
  • Flowers hold a special place in Hindu funerals, adorning the deceased’s body. Family members select flowers based on their symbolic significance and the desired health benefits they wish to bestow upon their loved one as they transition to the next life.
  • In Hindu funerals, caskets are often left open, allowing visitors to quietly pay their respects to the departed. They may also choose to participate in the ceremony, with guests of other faiths welcomed without any obligation to do so.

These customs not only honor the departed soul but also provide a sense of continuity, support, and spiritual connection to those who gather to bid farewell to their loved ones.

The 13 Days of Hindu Mourning (major rules):

In Hindu mourning customs, there exists an intense period of grieving that spans thirteen days immediately after the cremation or burial service, during which the family of the deceased observes various rules and practices. These rituals deeply root in tradition and are intending to guide the family through the mourning process. Some key aspects of this period include:

  1. Family Seclusion: The family is primarily expected to remain within the family home during these thirteen days. This period of seclusion helps them process their grief without external distractions.
  2. Avoiding Religious Functions: During this mourning period, it is customary for the bereaved family to abstain from attending religious functions or celebrations. This is a sign of respect for the deceased and a recognition of the family’s state of impurity.
  3. Refraining from Holy Scriptures: Reading or reciting from the holy scriptures is also avoided during this time. This abstinence reflects a period of introspection and emotional processing.
  4. Dietary Restrictions: Certain foods, particularly sweets, are avoided during the mourning period. These dietary restrictions serve as a symbol of the family’s somber state.
  5. Family Shrine: It is customary not to touch or approach the family shrine during this time, as the family is considering impure.
  6. Limited Social Interaction: While relatives may visit the bereaved family, the family itself typically refrains from visiting others or attending social gatherings.

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Throughout these thirteen days, the grieving family and friends are encouraging to openly express their emotions. Hindu mourning rituals designes to facilitate the healthy release of grief, preventing it from becoming suppressed or leading to unresolved anger. This emotional expression believe to contribute to the well-being of the living and to generate positive karma for the departed soul.


Bengali rituals after death encapsulate a tapestry of traditions and beliefs deeply rooted in culture and spirituality. These customs serve as a poignant and respectful way to bid farewell to departed loved ones while seeking solace and guidance from the divine. From the initial moments of washing the deceased to the elaborate observance of Shradh, each ritual carries profound meaning and significance. Through these rituals, the Bengali community not only honors the departed but also finds strength and unity in the face of loss. These practices underscore the resilience of tradition and the enduring bond between the living and the departed, offering a profound sense of continuity and spiritual connection that transcends the boundaries of mortality.

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