Asian Funeral Celebrant
Specialising in Hindu and multicultural funeral ceremonies
Respecting Cultures, Traditions, and Values in a funeral ceremony that is heartfelt and respectful.
When a loved one passes away, life stops for a moment, as you go through the process of doing what is needed and expected. It is life-changing. But do we really know what that is? It’s not taught as part of the school curriculum or workplace and in reality, we are not educated on what to do. We look to our elders, the local funeral director, family funeral director, and Independent Celebrant for help and advice.
Creating a unique funeral, memorial, celebration of life or scattering of ashes ceremony
With an Independent Celebrant, by your side you will together create a ceremony that celebrates the life of your loved one. Celebrants create ceremonies that commemorate a life. They write from the heart, listening to your stories and reliving your memories with you, both the happy and sad.
They support you during this time. They are there to listen to you, and not do what is expected of religion and others. They hold your hands and will be part of the journey. There are many ways to personalise funeral ceremonies and they will talk you through all of the options available. Celebrants are there to ensure your loved one receives the send-off they deserve.
The Funeral Director will help you with choosing a Crematorium, date and time as well as the funeral processes. As your Celebrant, I will work with you to gather the information required and then prepare a draft ceremony that I share with you in advance so you have an opportunity to review before the Funeral ceremony, Memorial Service and/or Scattering of Ashes.
Making Funeral Decisions
What happens when family members don’t get on or have differing views? For example; someone in the family is more religious, so it must be a religious funeral ceremony, or an individual is considered the head of the family so their decisions must be followed, or a sibling is quieter than others so they do not get an opportunity to share their views and there is also the difficult conversation of who to include.
When it is a multicultural family, this can bring up other issues. Should the deceased have a religious ceremony and if yes, which one? Their own culture or one of their partners or do the elders override everything and make the decision? Should there be religious music played or sung and if yes from which culture? Who will be included?
But what if the person who has passed away was not religious? What if they were more spiritual and what if they had completed a Living Funeral Wish Document?
This is where you should choose an Independent Celebrant to work with you to create and deliver a personalised, bespoke ceremony that pays respect to the deceased.
What can be included in a celebrant funeral Ceremony?
In a Celebrant led ceremony, you can include a Eulogy which either you can read out or the Celebrant will read on your behalf. You can write the Eulogy yourself or your Celebrant will help you.
Readings or Poems – there are so many about all topics in life which could include the hobbies of the deceased, their life and also death. You can research yourself or your Celebrant can advise.
Rituals, Customs and Traditions –
– Photograph with a garland, vase with flowers, light a candle and incense stick
– Open or closed Casket if you want to allow attendees to place a flower in or on the coffin
– Family to carry the coffin into the crematorium feet first
– Children – It can be so lovely when children can be included in the funeral but it can also be very daunting and scary. Your Celebrant will advise on how best to include them and also direct both you and the children to any counselling that will help.
Languages – I speak English, Gujarati, Basic Hindi and sing.
Music – At most crematoriums, they will have Obitus present, which is used to play chosen music. But there is a growing trend to have musicians present who play the music. This can be music from all genres. I work with D26 music to provide the musicians.
If you would like to include any of these, just let your Celebrant know and they can be included as long as the crematorium agrees.
Sonal Dave – Asian Celebrant
I am Indian, Born in Uganda and married to Dhani who is mixed Irish and Indo-Caribbean, making us a multicultural, multi-faith, multi-heritage, multilingual couple. This has given me the experience to live both the challenges and opportunities that this brings.
As your Independent Celebrant, I come to you with knowledge and experience to create and deliver a ceremony that is focused on the wishes and life of the deceased and not the expectations of religion and others.
As an experienced celebrant, with years of writing and officiating ceremonies, I will work closely with you to create a personalised ceremony respecting any want for tradition in culture, ethnicity or identity.
I speak English, Gujarati and basic Hindi, and I can sing mantras, hymns and songs.
Create A Memorable Funeral Ceremony
Book a free consultation so we can discuss your loved one and the ceremony.
I will liaise with your funeral director. We create the perfect ceremony script and plan for your ceremony.
Funeral Ceremony FAQ
Will you write the ceremony for me?
I will take the information from you and create your first draft that you get to review. I will amend this once I have your thoughts.
This usually takes a couple of times before we get to the final version. This means no one can suddenly decide to talk on the day as we have finalised the ceremony and confirmed that it works within the time limits we have.
Will you write the Eulogy for me?
You can write the Eulogy yourself and I can guide you
I will take the information from you and create your first draft of the Eulogy that you get to review. I will amend this once I have your thoughts.
Is there anything that has to be included in a service?
There is nothing that has to be included. I create a bespoke ceremony based on the wishes of your loved one who has passed away from a *Funeral Wish List Document* or in consultation with family.
Do you cater for people who are not religious?
Yes I do cater for people who are not religious
Does it matter what faith, culture or traditions we follow?
No it does not matter what faith, culture or traditions you follow
How long is a Celebrant-led Funeral, Memorial or Scattering of Ashes Ceremony?
This depends on which slot you have booked at the crematorium, venue or boat.
I usually suggest that 20-40 minutes is a good length depending on what you are including
Where can we hold the funeral, memorial or scattering of ashes ceremony?
A funeral ceremony can take place at a crematorium, cemetery if a burial, or appropriate venue or boat if a memorial service or scattering of ashes
What Rituals Can We Include?
You can include whatever rituals you would like to include as long as the crematorium, venue or boat allow.
Can we read your script before the ceremony?
Yes you will get to read the draft and final version before the ceremony
How far in advance should we book you?
Funeral ceremony, it is hard to predict how far in advance as we just don’t know but as soon as possible after the person has passed away giving us time to create the personalised ceremony.
Memorial service, shradhanjali, bhajans, remembrance ceremony, its best to book as early as possible giving us plenty of time to create the ceremony and decide on music/musicians and songs for the ceremony.
Scattering of Ashes – its best to check my availability before confirming the booking for the boat or venue to ensure that I am available for the dates you are considering as well as musicians if having live music.
Create A Memorable Funeral Ceremony
Funeral & Memorial Celebrant Reviews
I would absolutely recommend Sonal to anyone looking for a celebrant for a funeral for a loved one. My family and I had to organise a funeral for my father in May 2022 and we had to do so pretty much from scratch. We had some vague ideas for a ceremony but hadn’t really discussed anything beforehand and were really looking for someone who could help guide us through the process and help us put together a ceremony that worked for us and felt right for our dad. Sonal was just what we needed. Adding to the obvious difficulties in having to plan a funeral for a loved one, we also had to do so while family members lived in different time zones: I live in the U.S. but the rest of my family live back in London. Sonal was great in meeting with us via zoom and using a Google doc to help us all work through all of the plans together. Sonal is also clearly very used to working with families and adapting to their particular dynamics and worked really hard to make sure that we all contributed to the planning and were all fully involved. The fact that our discussions were on zoom and across time zones did not lessen this at all and we felt very supported throughout the entire process. Sonal was also extremely responsive and reliable throughout, we never had to wait too long for an email response or ever chase her for anything. We were all extremely happy with the ceremony that we ended up putting together and felt so lucky to have Sonal helping us through the process.
Sonal worked with myself and close friends to celebrate the life and to say goodbye to a close friend. She was kind, caring, flexible, sensitive and supportive through an emotionally charged time. Her understanding of the overlaps and differences in Indian and English cultures was a much appreciated bonus. I highly recommend working with her.