Om Namah Shivaaye

Why is it important to have a bath after attending funeral?

In India i had seen it many times that People take bath after attending funeral. But most of these people in India and around the world do not know the actual reason behind it. So, I decided to do some research and find out the truth behind it and found out some really knowledgeable and must share stuff.

Why is it important to have a bath after attending funeral?

Well there are two type of belief behind this Tradition. One is traditional belief i.e. what people believe and other is scientific belief . We will talk about both traditional and scientific (or ancient) belief with some of its history one by one:

◾Traditional Belief (what people think):

After burying or cremating a dead body, when a person returns home, he must immediately proceed to take bath with the same clothes still on, otherwise the spirit of the deceased will haunt him. Sounds like superstition, doesn’t it? But the secret behind this is convincing enough.

◾Scientific (Ancient) Belief:

You have to realize that this custom originated many centuries ago. At the time the sanitation and cleanliness practices were different.Technology available was different. What we forget while following such rituals is that they might make sense in that era and may or may not make sense now. We have very recently started questioning the rituals that the Hindu religion follows. What we should keep in mind while doing that is - some ritual was performed because most probably it made sense 200 or more years ago. It may make sense now. We have to decide that.

Once a person is dead, the body looses it ability to fight bacteria and starts to decompose. The people who attend the funeral are exposed to the dead body and hence the bacteria that participate in the decomposition of a dead body. That is the reason why they are asked to bathe immediately after the funeral, before touching anything or anyone.

The fact that most of India falls in temperate zone also contributes in expediting the decomposition process. Not everyone provides cooling to the body, like laying the body on a slab of ice or such, to slow this process down. So, when the body is kept for a day or two there is some decomposition that occurs.

I have never been to a cremation ground, but I know that they are usually near a river. That makes the environment a little more favorable for the growth of bacteria.

Also, there might be scavengers around the cremation grounds which are usually a great carrier for bacteria. They feast on dead bodies of animals and birds that are in various stages of decomposition. They carry these bacteria to the cremation grounds.

Last but not the least, people are usually in great grief in the presence of the dead body. No body is thinking of usual routine like bathing. Once the body is cremated, they have to start the process of moving on. IMO bathing is a good way to do that.

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  1. great read, always great to learn the different funeral traditions around the world. Thank you for sharing.

    Colonial Funeral Homes

  2. We at Kastoor Janaza Services, provide complete range of services from collection of dead body from place of death to home/janazgah, burial, guests arrangement, burial arrangement, catering services and Khtam-ul-quran or qul etc.