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Do different religions have different traditional funeral hymns?

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Quick Answer

Funeral hymns differ depending upon the beliefs of a particular religious faith. Christians, Muslims and Buddhists have different funeral rites that make use of particular traditions.

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Full Answer

The practices of meditation and chanting are integral to the Buddhist tradition. In many cases, a portion of a Buddhist funeral is dedicated to chanting. There are no regulations for Buddhist funeral music; therefore, funerals may also include anything from traditional hymns to popular secular music. The wishes of the deceased or the family may determine whether to include music in a Buddhist funeral ceremony.

Muslim funerals typically do not include music at all, as Islam views silence as a form of solemnity. Quiet, serious prayer is the focus. However, men who attend a funeral may chant this verse during the burial: "We created you from it, we return you to it, and from it we will raise you a second time." The mourners pour handfuls of dirt upon the deceased while they chant.

An opening hymn, communion hymn and closing song are common during Catholic funerals. The Catholic Church generally frowns upon the use of secular music for funerals. Mourners may choose a traditional hymn, such as "Amazing Grace." There are also contemporary Catholic praise songs; many mourners choose a song such as "On Eagle's Wings" because it offers words of consolation.

Other Christian churches may include modern praise and worship music or classic hymns during funeral rites. Appropriate modern choices include "I Can Only Imagine," by MercyMe, and "He's Walking Her Home," by Mark Schultz. Songs such as "All My Tears," by Julie Miller, help Christians find hope in the belief of the resurrection and salvation. Some Christian churches allow secular music during funeral ceremonies, including favorite songs of the deceased.

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