There are three main funeral ceremonies in Rajasthan. They are Antyeshthi,
Tiya and Mausar.
When a person dies, he or she is taken in a funeral
procession to the cremation ground. If the deceased was quite old, a band
leads the procession. The eldest son, or a near relative, lights the funeral
pure. The mourners then throw fagots in the fire as a symbol of active
participation in the cremation.
When a rich person dies, coins are scattered all the
way from the house to the cremation ground. Beggars and the poor pick
up the coins. This is called Bakher. It is mainly a Rajasthani custom.
The bereaved family goes into mourning for twelve days.
Professional weepers cry everyday at the residence of the deceased person.
In Rajasthan there is a class of professional weepers who can be called
to weep wherever a death occurs.
On the third day after the death, the relatives go to
the cremation ground and collect the ashes which they later immerse in
Pushkar Lake or the Ganga. On this day, relatives and friends assemble
at the dead person's house and perform havan while Vedic hymns are recited
by the family priest.
Mausar (Death Feast)
On the twelfth day, a grand feast is given in honour
of the dead. Hundreds of people are invited and this costs the family
a good deal of money. Sometimes the poor have to take loans and incur
heavy debts which they are unable to repay. Now the young often refuse
to give this death feast which they consider wasteful. So, some old men
and women give their death feasts in advance for fear that their sons
and relatives may not hold it after their death. The state government
has banned death feasts because they are considered a curse for the poor.