Thank you for replying, Kumy!
Seeing that I have barely any time, I am really grateful to have help from you.
Okay, Lurid, you wanted funeral, right?
I know some more about funerals, so I guess you can take this information.
Dress: Everyone is dressed in white. The person who has to perform the last rites wears a dhoti for the lower body and a white towel for the upper body. Other men dress in white kurta-pyjamas. Ladies are dressed in white sarees or salwar kameezes. Married women only wear their marriage bangles, bindi (a decorative sticker on the forehead, I'm crazy about these!), sindoor (red powdre called kumkum that is applied on the forehead of married women) and their Mangal Sutra of marriage necklace. The widow is dressed in white, devoid of bindi, sindoor, bangles or Mangal Sutra. Often, their hair is also let down.
First, the brothers, son, father or any four close male relatives of the deceased make a bier for them. This is done by stringing the wooden bars together with jute ropes. There are two long bars with several small bars in between, giving the bier the appearence of a ladder. The bier, along with the body is taken outside the house. Incense sticks are burnt. All the relatives gather around the body and each is given some puffed rice in their hands. A few prayers are told by the priest. Then, all of them walk around the body- just one round (called Pradakshina). When a round is completed, they stand next to the legs of the body. Then they kneel down and outstretch themselves forward in an arch (Namaskar) and put the puffed rice on the body. The body is then taken away to the cremation site called as Samshan bhumi. The four corners of the bier are held by four close male relatives and the person for the last rite (known as Antim Sanskar or Dah karm) holds a pot with oil in it. They say, "Ram naam satya hai." It means, Lord Ram's name is the truth. Lord Ram is an Avatar of Lord Vishnu. Women and children stay back.
In the funeral site, a pyre of logs is prepared. The body is then laid on it and covered with more logs. The person for last rites (son/father/brother) takes the pot on the shoulders and makes Pradakshinas. After each Pradakshina, a hole is made on the pot by the priest, so that the oil drips down. After five or six pradakshinas, the person breakes the pot and is handed a burning log. He burns the pyre.
The next day, the ashes from the pyre are taken in an urn. Then, the son/father/brother immerses the ashes in the river. If you're writing this, write that the ashes were floated in the Ganga (Ganges) or Yamuna, I don't think anyone will float it in the Thames, because Ganga, Yamuna and other prominent rivers are considered sacred. In Mumbai itself, it is not done in the Mithi river, people go to Godavari to do it.
After this, there are ten days of rituals, mainly concerning the person who did the dah karma. There is no mourning period or anything- people keep mourning throughout.
That's all, I guess. Thank you once more, Kumy!
Hope this helps, Lurid and be free to ask anything you want. :)
~Ginny Weasley Potter~