Choices: a Priest or a Celebrant for a Hindu Funeral?

by | Sep 25, 2022 | Celebrant, Funerals

Should you have a Priest or a Celebrant for a Hindu funeral? Can you have a religious and spiritual Hindu funeral? Understanding your choices for a funeral service can often be confusing, and you will likely have a few questions about what can happen.

This blog gives you a little information about the choice you have and where you can find more information.

I am sure that you already know this, but just in case you do not, I wanted to share with you that when a loved one passes away you have a choice as to who will conduct the funeral and the scattering of ashes ceremony here in the UK. Now under normal circumstances, you would probably just follow the instructions of the elders in the family or do what you have seen happen in the past. However, you do have a choice.

So let’s start with some definitions.

What is the definition of a Priest?

A Priest is someone who is authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God.

Celebrant for a Hindu funeral

What is the definition of a Funeral Celebrant?

A funeral celebrant is usually from a non-clergy background, who officiates funeral services. Funeral celebrants typically help organise and conduct funerals, supporting the bereaved family every step of the way with the aim of celebrating the life of the person who has died.

So now you know the options and what they do, let’s have a think about why you may choose one and not the other.

A Priest for a Hindu Funeral

When someone passes away who was very religious, did their daily prayers without missing any days, went to the temple and fasted on relevant religious days, then a Priest is probably the right person to choose. The reason why is that they will deliver a ceremony that is full of religious background and they will recite the relevant mantras ensuring you complete the rituals as per the religious scriptures and conduct the service within the religious traditions established in the Hindu funeral rites.

A Celebrant for a Hindu Funeral

When someone passes away who was not religious but respected their religion or was more spiritually-minded then a Celebrant for a Hindu funeral is probably the right person to choose. The reason for this is that they will deliver a ceremony that is personalised to the individual who has passed away. They can and will include religion if requested but it is not a requirement. A Celebrant for a Hindu funeral will have a focus is the individual and not the expectations of the religion.

Now I know that even thinking about having something different to the expectations of the elders and family is and will be scary, but I think it’s also quite exciting that there is another option to consider after so many years of just having one.

This actually gives you an important opportunity to think about the individual and what would be right for them.

Independent Celebrant - Celebrant for a Hindu funeral

Questions to Ask Yourself

Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself before deciding who is the right person to book for a funeral:

Is the individual religious and following their religion daily?

Is the individual spiritual?

Is the individual not religious or spiritual?

Would the individual have wanted a priest?

Depending on the answers you should be able to now decide who you should book for the funeral.



Did you know that you can now tell a chosen Funeral Director if you would prefer a Priest or a Celebrant? Just as you can plan ahead for a funeral with a funeral plan or even write in your will. You can also do the same with your wish list for what you want to happen, how you want it to happen, where and who to include.

To have a chat about this very important topic, feel free to get in touch to discuss funeral arrangements for someone who has recently passed away and get in touch with your chosen Funeral Director to agree on what you want, making things easier for those left behind.

© Sonal Dave all rights reserved 2023. No reproduction of this content in part or in full is permitted without prior permission.

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Sonal Dave is a Ceremonies Celebrant, Lady Toastmaster and Professional Public Speaking Expert. Speaking English, Gujarati and basic Hindi, Sonal’s services include symbolic Asian rituals, the sand ceremony and many other symbolic Indian or Western elements.

documents shown on tablets

End-of-Life/Funeral Wish List & Ashes Puja Ceremony Guide

Download the PDFs to tell your loved ones your wishes or discover more about the scattering of ashes ceremonies. 

I hope these are useful guides