A Closer Look at Russian Funeral Ceremonies

St. Basil's & The Kremlin

Adhering to treasured national customs is one way to honor your loved one’s final wishes. Russian funeral ceremonies often follow in the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church, which retains some echoes of the Greek Orthodox Church. Russian Orthodox traditions may also be combined with various folk traditions. If your loved one made funeral pre-arrangements that included instructions to follow Russian traditions, you can expect the following ceremonies for the burial, funeral, and memorial.

Burial Preparation

In accordance with Russian tradition, the body of a loved one must be washed and dressed in white clothing. White clothing symbolizes purity. Often, the selected clothing is handmade and not quite finished, which symbolizes its otherworldliness. The body must also be buried with a belt, which reflects the wearer’s dedication to his or her religion. The body is then arranged in the home for three days, before being placed in a coffin. Family members and friends may place cherished items in the coffin.

Funeral Service

At the funeral service, a bell is rung once in a high-to-low note to call mourners to the funeral. A priest offers a prayer service and then mourners toss dirt onto the grave. After the priest places a paper crown on the head of the lost loved one, mourners may toss additional soil and coins into the grave. Later, mourners sing songs that depict their grief and love for the deceased.

Memorial Dinner

On the day of the funeral, family members and friends are expected to join together for a memorial dinner . Another dinner and a church service are held on the ninth day, when it is said that the soul leaves the body. In the Russian tradition, the soul departs for the world beyond on the 40th day, on which another memorial dinner and service are held.

The compassionate staff of Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory understands the importance of honoring traditions and respecting a loved one’s final wishes. We’ll help you design a funeral service that conforms to your culture’s traditions. Please call our funeral home and memorial park at (253) 584-0252 or visit our facility in Tacoma.

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