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Humanists

Humanism is not a faith. It is the belief that people can live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs. Most humanists would describe their beliefs as either atheist or agnostic, and humanists reject the idea of any god or other supernatural agency and do not believe in an afterlife. However, Humanism is more than a simple rejection of religious beliefs. Humanists believe that moral values are founded on human nature and experience, and base their moral principles on reason, shared human values and respect for others. They believe that people can and will continue to solve problems, and should work together to improve the quality of life and make it more equitable.



Language

English, or any other language depending on the individual’s background.

Diet

Fasting

No particular requirements. Some humanists are vegetarian or vegan, and many who do eat meat would refuse meat that has been slaughtered by methods they consider inhumane (Halal or Kosher meat).

None


Dress

No special requirements

Physical contact, medical treatment,

hospital stays, rest centers

No specific restrictions on physical contact, or on medical treatments.

Daily acts of faith &

major annual events

No daily acts of faith or worship, and no annual festivals.

Dying
Death customs

Many humanists will want to have family or a close friend with them if they are dying, or the support of another caring individual. Some may appreciate the support of a secular counsellor or a fellow humanist. Humanists may refuse treatment that they see simply as prolonging suffering. Some may strongly resent prayers being said for them or any reassurances based on belief in god or an afterlife.

No specific requirements. The choice between cremation and burial is a personal one, although cremation is more common. Most will want a humanist funeral, and crosses and other religious emblems should be avoided. However, since many humanists believe that when someone dies the needs of the bereaved are more important than their own beliefs, some may wish decisions about their funeral and related matters to be left to their closest relatives.



Resources (texts, community facilities etc.)

There are no humanist scriptures or religious texts.

Names

No particular traditions: names may vary according to ethnic or cultural background.




Jain

Language

Apart from some of the elderly, Jains speak and understand English. The majority in the UK are Gujerati speaking, but a minority speaks Hindi, Rajasthani, Tamil, or Punjabi.

Diet

Fasting

Jains are pure vegetarians, and do not consume meat, fish, seafood, poultry or eggs. In addition, those Jains who adhere to the stricter code of conduct do not eat any root vegetables, particularly onions and garlic but also potatoes, carrots, beets, etc. Jains do not consume alcohol. Salads, fruits, cooked grain of all types, cooked vegetables, bread or biscuits made without the use of eggs and dairy products are generally acceptable.

There are fasts with (a) no meal (b) one meal (c) two meals within 24 hours. Water, if used in a fast, must be boiled. Some Jains observe fasts without any intake of food or water. Abstention from fruit and vegetables is practiced on many days. Fasts are undertaken on various days throughout the lunar month. They are more popular during the festival of Paryushana during August or September, which lasts for 8 or 10 days. Two special 9-day periods called Ayambil are observed during June and December during which only one meal is taken. This meal is prepared using only grain, flour, water, rock salt and pepper. Use of dairy products, fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils and fats, and any raw food is forbidden.



Dress

Jain males have adapted the western dress code for everyday use whereas females may be orthodox or modern. The elderly usually wear Indian dresses such as saris and kurta-pyjama, whilst the younger generation wear all sorts of dresses.

Physical contact

Medical treatment

Hospital stays, rest centers

Ideally, same-sex contact and separate male and female wards are preferred but there is no taboo where medical and/or specialist personnel are involved.

Blood transfusions and organ transplants are acceptable if these are not obtained at the expense of another life. Medication for the purpose of saving life is usually accepted without question.

If the toilet and bathroom are separate, a water supply and beaker should be provided in the toilet for cleaning purposes. Diet restrictions should be observed during stays in hospital or rest center.


Daily acts of faith &

Major annual events

The Namokkara mantra is recited on waking up, going to bed and at meal times. Jains may observe the ritual of pratikramana once or twice a day, and meditate as often as desired. Festivals (based on the lunar calendar):

Paryushana: 8 or 10 days during August or September. The most significant Jain event. Prayers are recited with confession of sins, forgiveness is sought from all living beings and penances are undertaken.

Mahavira Jayanti: the Birthday of Lord Mahavira, the last Tirthankara (One who re-establishes the ford), in 599 BCE. Celebrated during April. This is a joyous occasion and the experiences of Lord Mahavira’s mother before and after his birth are recounted.

Mahavira Nirvana: Liberation of Lord Mahavira. Most Jains celebrate the eve of the Hindu New Year with Deepavali, the festival of lights. However, some observe this day as the day of liberation of Lord Mahavira followed by the day of enlightenment of his first disciple Gautam Svami around October.

Ayambil : Two periods are observed. (see Fasting section)


Dying
Death customs

If death is certain and there is nothing to benefit by staying in the hospital, the Jain would prefer to spend the last moments at home. Ideally, the subject would wish for mental detachment of all desires and concentrate on the inner self. Family members or others would assist by reciting text or chanting verses from the canon. As much peace and quiet should be maintained as possible.

There are no specific rituals in Jain philosophy for this event. Bodies are always cremated and never buried except for infants. Cremation must be performed as soon as practicable, even within hours if possible, without any pomp. Many Jains still pursue Hindu customs as a family preference. All normal practices of UK undertakers are acceptable if handled with respect. The family normally provides the dress and accessories for the preparation and final placement in the coffin.



Resources (texts,

community facilities, etc.)

The Jain scriptures are called Agamas and although the texts vary according to sects, the basic philosophy is the same. The Jains believe that the mission of the human birth is to achieve liberation from mundane life, and the cycle of death and rebirth. This is achieved through the practice of non-violence and equanimity as preached by Lord Mahavira in the Agamas.

Names

All names are made up of 3 or 4 words in a definite sequence: the person’s given name comes first. Sometimes this is appended with a gloss such as -Kumar, -ray, -lal, -chandra, -bhai, -kumari, -bhen etc. which is usually written with the given name but sometimes becomes the second name. The following name (usually the middle) is the father’s first name for males and the husband’s first name for the females. The last name is the surname or family name, which is usually common to all members of the family.



Japanese (Shinto)

Shinto is Japan's indigenous religion: a complex of ancient folk belief and rituals which perceive the presence of gods or of the sacred in animals, in plants, and even in things which have no life, such as stones and waterfalls. As well as Shinto, individuals of Japanese origin may adhere to Buddhism - see separate Buddhist section.



Language

Generally Shintoists speak Japanese with English as a second language.

Diet
Fasting

In general, the foundation of the Japanese diet is rice.
Japanese people do not have a custom of fasting.

Dress

There are no religious requirements for the form of every-day dress. For particular annual events such as New Year's Day and the Bon Festival (and for local shrine festivals in Japan) some wear traditional dress (kimono).

Physical contact


Medical treatment
Hospital stays, rest

centers

When undergoing medical examination and treatment or being comforted by strangers, Japanese people would prefer to be touched by a person of the same sex.

There are no religious objections to blood transfusions or transplants.

During hospital stays, baths are considered preferable to showers and the bathroom should be separated from the toilet.


Daily acts of faith &

major annual events

Shinto has little theology and no congregational worship. Its unifying concept is Kami, inadequately translated as "god". There are no Shinto prayers as such but many Japanese will follow Buddhist meditative practices. In addition to Buddhist festivals, Shintoists will celebrate:

New Year: 1 January

Bon Festival: respect to ancestors (13-16 August)


Dying
Death customs

Dying Japanese will wish to meditate.
Generally Japanese would prefer cremation to burial. Funeral services are administered according to Buddhist rites.

Resources (texts, community facilities etc.)

No specific Shinto texts. See Buddhism. Those requiring further information on Shinto should contact the Japanese Embassy or the International Shinto Foundation (www.shinto.org).

Names

It is usual for Japanese people to have two names. The first may be the family name and the second may be the given name. When names are required for record purposes it is advisable to ask first for the family name and to use this as the surname.




Jehovah’s Witnesses

Language

Usually English.

Diet
Fasting

While Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christians are required to abstain from blood and the meat of animals from which blood has not been properly drained, there are no religious restrictions on what they can eat. Use of alcohol is a personal matter.

No religious requirement.



Dress

No special religious dress.

Physical contact

Medical treatment
Hospital stays, rest centers

For deeply-held reasons of religious faith there are basically only two medical interventions that Jehovah’s Witnesses object to: elective termination of pregnancy and allogeneic blood transfusion. Baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses usually carry on their person an Advance Medical Directive/Release document directing that no blood transfusions be given under any circumstances, and this document is renewed annually. A more detailed Health-Care Advance Directive form outlining their personal treatment choices may also be carried.

Jehovah’s Witness are happy to sign hospital forms that direct that no allogeneic blood transfusion or primary blood components be administered under any circumstances, while releasing doctors, medical personnel and hospitals from liability for any damages that might result from such refusal despite otherwise competent care.

They understand the challenge that their decisions can sometimes pose for doctors and nurses. In an effort to alleviate these situations they have established a network of Hospital Liaison Committees throughout Britain. Members of these groups are trained to facilitate communication between medical staff and Jehovah’s Witness patients and are available at any time, night or day, to assist with difficulties either at the request of the treating team or the patient.


Daily acts of faith &

major annual events

Reading the Bible daily.

Witnesses commemorate the death of Jesus according to the Hebrew calendar (late March/April). They do not celebrate other traditional festivals, nor do they celebrate birthdays.



Dying

Death customs

There are no special rituals to perform for those who are dying, nor last rites to be administered to those in extremis. Pastoral visits from elders will be welcomed.

An appropriate relative can decide if a limited post mortem is acceptable to determine cause of death.



The dead may be buried or cremated, depending on personal or family preferences and local circumstances.

Resources (texts, community facilities etc.)

The Bible.

Names

No particular tradition.




Jewish

Language

English is generally used although Hebrew and Yiddish are also spoken.

Diet


Fasting

Observant Jews are required to uphold the Kashrut, a series of dietary laws. Jews do not eat pork in any form. Fish must have both fins and scales: shellfish is not permitted. Red meat and poultry must comply with kosher standards of slaughter. Meat and milk products must not be cooked together, and separate dishes must be kept. Milk products must not be eaten during or after a meat meal, and most observant Jews will wait three to six hours before dairy products are eaten or drunk. A vegetarian meal is often acceptable, since this ensures no doubt over the utensils used for its preparation, with dairy-free dressings or sauces if available.

Yom Kippur is a major annual 25-hour fast observed by the majority of Jews. There are other fast days during the year which are less widely observed. Jews are not permitted to eat or drink on fast days. Additionally, no leavened bread is eaten during the period of Passover, when unleavened bread known as matzah may be consumed instead.

Dress

Devout Jewish men and women will keep their heads covered at all times. Men wear a hat or skull-cap (the yarmulka or kippa). Orthodox women will wear a hat, scarf or wig. Orthodox women and girls are required to keep the body and limbs covered with modest clothing. Strictly Orthodox men are likely to wear black clothes (sometimes 18th century dress) and may have ringlets and beards.

Physical contact
Medical treatment
Hospital stays, rest centers

Strictly Orthodox men and women actively avoid physical contact with people of the opposite sex and will not welcome being comforted by someone touching or putting an arm around them.

All laws normally applying on the Sabbath or festival can be overruled for the purpose of saving life or safeguarding health. Blood transfusion is permitted and is a matter of personal choice. Transplants and organ donation are usually permissible, but may require advice from a Rabbi.

A quiet area for prayer should be provided if possible.


Daily acts of faith &

major annual events

All practicing Jews say prayers three times a day. The Sabbath (Shabbat) is observed from sunset on Friday evening until sunset on Saturday evening.

Prayers and a family meal are part of the observance.

The observance of festivals is very important. The major ones are:

Days of Awe: Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

♦ The Three Foot Festivals: Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot

Chanukah

Purim

Tishah BAv



Dying
Death customs

It is usual for a companion to remain with a dying Jewish person until death, reading or saying prayers. The dying person should not be touched or moved, since it is considered that such action will hasten death, which is not permitted in any circumstances. He or she may wish to recite the Shema.

The prompt and accurate identification of the dead is particularly important for the position of a widow in Jewish law. Post mortems are forbidden unless ordered by the civil authorities. Body parts must be treated with respect and remain with the corpse if possible.

When a person dies, eyes should be closed and the jaws tied; fingers should be straight. The body is washed and wrapped in a plain white sheet, and placed with the feet towards the doorway. If possible it should not be left unattended. For men a prayer shawl, tallit, is placed around the body and the fringes on the four corners cut off.

The Chevra Kadisha (Holy Brotherhood) should be notified immediately after death. They will arrange the funeral, if possible before sunset on the day of death, but will not move the body on the Sabbath. Coffins are plain

and wooden (without a Christian cross). Someone remains with the body constantly until the funeral. It is not usual to have floral tributes. Orthodox Jews require burial but Reform and Liberal Jews permit cremation.


Resources (texts,

community facilities etc.)

The Jewish scriptures are known as the Tanakh and include the Torah, the Neviim and the Ketuvim.

Names

Individuals usually have one or more Hebrew names, often taken from Biblical sources, followed by the Hebrew names(s) of their father.



Muslim

Language

Muslims may speak several languages other than English; the most common are Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati, Arabic and Turkish.

Diet

Fasting

Muslims do not eat pork in any form, and foods and utensils that have come into contact with pork should not touch any food to be eaten by a Muslim. Consumption of alcohol in any form (e.g. desserts) is strictly forbidden.

Muslims may eat fish, they can eat poultry, mutton and beef, providing the meat is halal, i.e. killed and prepared according to Islamic law. Halal food and drink should be clearly labelled where other food is being served. Vegetarian meals and fresh fruit/vegetables are acceptable. Food is eaten with the right hand only.

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset to mark the month of Ramadan, and some will fast at other times during the year. Fasting during Ramadan is compulsory for all except menstruating, pregnant or lactating women, pre- pubertal children and the infirm.


Dress

Observant Muslim women usually have at least a head covering (Hijab), and are often covered from head to toe when in public or in the presence of men who are not family members. Covering the area between the navel and knees is a requirement for Muslim men and some devout male Muslims may prefer to keep their heads covered at all times.

Physical contact
Medical treatment
Hospital stays, rest centers

Treatment by medical staff of any religion is permissible, but men and women prefer to be treated by staff of the same sex where possible.
The views of the family/Imam on whether organ donation, transplants and blood transfusions are acceptable should be sought in each case.
In hospital, a shower is preferred to a bath. Muslims ritually wash after using the toilet, so a tap or container of water for washing should be provided whenever the toilet area is separate from the bathroom. In a rest center, suitable facilities for pre-prayer washing, time to conduct prayer, and a clean prayer room with a prayer mat and a compass or sign pointing to Makkah (Mecca) - south-east in the United Kingdom - are appreciated.

Daily acts of faith & major annual events

Muslims pray five times a day, facing Makkah: before dawn, around midday, late afternoon, after sunset and late evening. Sunrise and sunset determine the exact timings. Ritual washing (Wudu) is performed before praying. Men and women will not usually pray together, though in emergencies this is acceptable if a temporary partition is erected.

Major events in the Muslim 12 month lunar-based calendar are:

The First of Muharram: Begins the Islamic New Year

Milad-un-Nabi (not celebrated by orthodox Sunni)

Lail-ul-Qadr: A time of fasting and all-night prayer during Ramadan

Eid-ul-Fitr: The end of the month of Ramadan. A day of celebration

Eid-ul-Adha: The end of the time of the annual Hajj pilgrimage


Dying
Death customs

If a Muslim is terminally ill or dying, the face should be turned towards Makkah. The patient’s head should be above the rest of the body. The dying person will try and say the Shahadah prayer (the testimony of faith).

Muslim dead should be placed in body-holding areas or temporary mortuaries, and ideally be kept together in a designated area (with male and female bodies separated). Post mortems are acceptable only where necessary for the issue of a death certificate or if required by the coroner. Ideally only male Muslims should handle a male body, and female Muslims a female body. The body should be laid on a clean surface and covered with a plain cloth, three pieces for a man and five for a woman. The head should be turned on the right shoulder and the face positioned towards Makkah. Detached body parts must be treated with respect.

Next of kin or the local Muslim community will make arrangements to prepare the body for burial. Muslims believe in burying their dead and would never cremate a body. Burial takes place quickly, preferably within 24 hours.


Resources (texts, community facilities etc.)

The Qur’an is a source of guidance for life. If in the original Arabic it should not be touched by non-Muslims except with a cloth (translations may be handled by all, with respect), or by menstruating women. Many mosques have private mortuaries which may be available in an emergency.

Names

Muslims usually have several personal or religious names. The name of the family into which someone has been born is not necessarily used. Where names are required for record purposes, it is advisable to register the most used personal name as a surname, followed by the lesser used names.




Pagans

Language

Mainly English.

Diet

Fasting

Dietary practice varies but many Pagans are vegetarian and some may be vegan. Dietary choices are, however, a matter for the individual who should be consulted on their preferences.

None.


Dress

In everyday life, Pagans do not usually wear special forms of dress. Ritual jewelry is however very common and may have deep personal religious significance. In some traditions, the wearing of a ring, which symbolizes the person's adherence to Paganism or a particular Pagan path, is common. The removal of such a ring may cause considerable distress.

Physical contact

Medical treatment

Hospital stays, rest centers

There are no specific restraints on types of physical contact and no religious objections to blood transfusion and organ transplants.

Daily acts of faith &

major annual events

Private practice: Most Pagans will keep an altar, shrine or a devotional room (often called a temple) in their own homes. Private devotions take place whenever the individual wishes and may include prayer, meditation, chanting, reading of religious texts and ritual. Ritual practice and items used on the Altar in Pagan worship are described below.

Group practice: This often occurs on the lunar observance days and on the seasonal festivals celebrated by most Pagans. Many Pagans will celebrate these on the most convenient date rather than on the exact date, although the latter is preferred. Festivals:

Samhain: 31st October

Yule (Midwinter): 21st December

Imbolc: 1st February

Spring Equinox: 21st March

Beltane: 30th April

Midsummer: 21st June:

Lammas or Lughnasadh: 1st August

Autumn Equinox: 21 September



Death customs

Most Pagans believe in reincarnation. The emphasis in funerals is on the joyfulness for the departed in passing on to a new life, but also consolation for relatives and friends that the person will be reborn. Disposal of the body may be by burning (cremation) or burial. Funeral services will take place in crematorium chapels, at the graveside or at the deceased's home. In some traditions, any religious items of significance to the deceased must be buried or burned with the body. Ritual jewelry, personal ritual items such as the Witch’s athame, and the person's religious writings (such as the Book of Shadows) are commonly buried with or burned with the body. A wake (mourning ceremony) carried out around the body by friends and relatives is common in some traditions.

Resources (texts,

community facilities etc.)

The Pagan Federation is the largest and oldest Pagan body in Europe. It publishes an informative quarterly journal (Pagan Dawn), and has a useful information pack which gives basic facts about modern European Paganism.

There are also information packs on Witchcraft, Druidry and the Northern Tradition.



Names

No specific directions as to use of names




Rastafarians

Language

The vocabulary is largely that of the Jamaican patois of English.

Diet

Fasting

Most Rastafarians are vegetarian and avoid stimulants such as alcohol, tea and coffee. Sacred food is called I-TAL (organic vegetarian food). Some Rastafarians will eat fish, but only certain types.

Fasting is observed, and can take place at any time. Nothing is consumed from noon until evening.



Dress

Rastafarians wear standard Western dress, except that some Rasta men will wear crowns or tams (hats) and Rasta women, wraps (headscarves).

The wearing of headwear can be deemed as part of a Rastafarian's attire, with some Rastafarian men and especially women never uncovering their heads in public.



Physical contact

Medical treatment

Hospital stays, rest

centers

Cutting of hair is prohibited in any circumstances. Dreadlocks symbolise the ‘mane of the Lion of Judah’ (reference to the divine title of Emperor Haile Selassie). In a medical emergency this issue would need to be discussed with the patient.

Daily acts of faith &

major annual events

Worship takes place at various times depending upon each Rastafarian commune. A service is conducted at least once a week. Rastafarians consider Saturday to be the Sabbath day. Nyahbinghi drumming and chanting is an important part of Rastafarian culture. It is used for spiritual upliftment and can last for many days. At the start of this spiritual time a Firekey also takes place: a fire is lit and must be kept burning until the drumming and chanting have stopped. Festivals:

Ethiopian Constitution Day (16 July)

Birthday of Haile Selassie (23 July): one of the holiest days of the Rastafarian year

Birthday of Marcus Garvey (17 August)

Ethiopian New Years Day (early September): a four-year cycle, with each year named after a Biblical evangelist.

Anniversary of the crowning of Haile Selassie/Ethiopian Christmas: 2 November



Dying

Death customs

No particular rituals are observed. The dying person will wish to pray. When a Rastafarian person passes (dies) a gathering takes place where there is drumming, singing, scriptures read and praises given. Usual on 9th and or 40th night of person passing.

Resources (texts,

community facilities etc.)

Books: My Life and Ethiopia (autobiography of Emperor Haile Selassie of

Ethiopia); Important Utterances of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I; Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey (ed. Amy Jacque Garvey).

DVDs: Time and Judgement (by Ras Menelik); The Journey of the Lion (by Brother Howie).

CDs: Churchial Chants of the Nyahbinghi; Prince Teban and the Sons of Thunder communication drumming.




Names

No particular tradition. Older men may take the prefix Jah or Ras.



Seventh-day Adventists

Language

Usually English, though there are a number of different language groups within the Adventist Church in the UK, including Filipino, Ghanaian, Russian, Bulgarian, Portuguese etc.

Diet
Fasting

Seventh-day Adventists do not smoke, drink alcohol or use non-medicinal drugs. Some even avoid foods and drinks containing caffeine and other stimulants. Many are vegetarian but those that do eat meat avoid pork or shellfish products. Some are vegan.

Some Adventists may have a personal period of fasting in conjunction with special prayer projects.



Dress

No special dress.

Physical contact

Medical treatment,

Hospital stays, rest centers

In a rest center, provision of vegetarian food from outlets not handling meat would be required. Provision of a room for Sabbath worship would be requested, and access to a Bible.

Daily acts of faith &

major annual events

The Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath is kept from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. It is a day of rest and worship, when Adventists like to practice fellowship and worship together. During this time most Adventists avoid secular activities such as watching television. Communion, or the Eucharist, is celebrated once every three months. Adventists celebrate Christmas and Easter as commemorative events, usually marking the occasions by a special service on the closest Sabbath day.

Dying
Death customs

Adventists would prefer to have an Adventist clergyman or woman present when facing death. However they would appreciate general prayers and other spiritual care from clergy of other Christian denominations if Adventist clergy were not available. Adventists do not hold the sacraments as required rituals; hence Sacrament of the Sick would not be necessary.

Cremation or burial is a matter of personal or family preference.



Resources (texts, community facilities etc.)

As with other Christians Adventists accept the Bible as the inspired word of

God. Many Adventist also cherish books by Ellen G White, who they believe had the spiritual gift of prophecy.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK is a fairly close knit community and most members will have friends or family to call on for temporary accommodation.


Names

No particular tradition.




Sikh

Language

The Punjabi and English languages are widely spoken and used. Swahili, Urdu and Hindi may be understood

Diet

Dietary practice varies, but devout Sikhs do not use tobacco, alcohol or drugs and are vegetarians, who will also exclude eggs. Those who do eat meat, fish and eggs will refrain from eating beef, halal and kosher meat.

Salads, rice, dahl (lentils), vegetables and fruit are generally acceptable.



Dress

All initiated male Sikhs wear the five K symbols: Kesh (uncut hair); Kangha (a comb to keep the hair neat); Kara (a steel bangle which symbolizes the unity of God); Kirpan (a short dagger which symbolizes the readiness of the Sikh to fight against injustice); and Kachhera (breeches or shorts to symbolize modesty). Women will wear all others except for the Turban, obligatory for men, it is optional for women who may instead wear a chunni (a long Punjabi scarf) to cover the Kesh.

The removal of the Turban or the Kachhera will cause great embarrassment to a Sikh and should be avoided.



Physical contact

Medical treatment
Hospital stays, rest centers

Treatment by medical staff of any religion is permissible, but men and women prefer to be treated by staff of the same sex where possible.

There are no specific medical requirements and no religious objections to blood transfusion and organ transplants. The views of the family/ individual concerned should be sought.

A Sikh in hospital may wish to have all five faith symbols within reach. Kachhera (shorts) should on no account be changed or removed other than by the individual concerned. A shower is preferred to a bath. Sikhs wash after using the toilet, so access to a tap and a container of water for washing should be provided in the toilet area.


Daily acts of faith &

major annual events

Sikhs are required to shower or bathe daily, especially before conducting their dawn prayers. Prayers are said three times a day: at sunrise, sunset and before going to bed. There is no set day for collective worship, though in the UK this usually takes place on Sundays. Festivals are normally celebrated with a continuous reading of the Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Scriptures) over a period of 48 hours. Major annual festivals are:

Guru Nanaks Birthday: A three-day celebration

The Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur

Guru Gobind Singhs Birthday

The Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev

Baisakhi

♦ Divali


Dying

Death customs

The dying person will want to have access to the Sikh scriptures where possible.

The five Ks should be left on the dead body, which should, if possible, be cleaned and clothed, in clean garments before being placed in a coffin or on a bier. According to Sikh etiquette, comforting a member of the opposite sex by physical contact should be avoided, unless those involved are closely related. Deliberate expressions of grief or mourning by bereaved relatives are discouraged, though the bereaved will want to seek comfort from the Sikh scriptures. The dead person should always be cremated, with a close relative lighting the funeral pyre or activating the machinery. This may be carried out at any convenient time. The ashes of the deceased may be disposed of through immersion in flowing water or dispersal.



Resources (texts, community facilities etc.)

The Sikh Scriptures (Adi Granth) are treated with the utmost respect and reverence. Additionally, Sikhs may refer to the writings of Guru Gobind Sinqh (Dasam Granthland the Sikh Code of Conduct (Rahil MatVada).

Names

Sikhs generally have three names: their given name; a title (Singh (Lion) for all males and Kaur (Princess) for all females); and a family name. Where names are required for records, the family name can tactfully be asked for, bearing in mind that Sikhs generally prefer to use and will usually offer, their first name alone or their first name together with their title (Singh or Kaur).





Zoroastrian (Parsee)

Language

Zoroastrians almost always speak English. Those from the Indian sub- continent speak Gujarati and Iranian Zoroastrians speak Persian or Farsi.

Diet

Fasting

Zoroastrians have no particular dietary requirements. They are non- vegetarian.

On certain days in the year Zoroastrians may abstain from meat.



Dress

Zoroastrians almost always wear western clothes: traditional dress is for ceremonial occasions only. As part of their inner garments, most adult

Zoroastrians will wear a vest made of fine muslin cloth called a Sudra. They also tie a girdle around the waist and this is called the Kusti. It is important to wear a clean Sudra, to change it daily and to remove it only for medical reasons.



Physical contact

Medical treatment

Hospital stays, rest centers

It is believed that many Zoroastrians are prone to Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase deficiency, a common human enzyme deficiency. There are no taboos on medical treatment or physical contact.

Daily acts of faith &

major annual events

Zoroastrians should untie their girdle and tie it back while saying their prayers, at least once a day. They may wish to cover their head whilst praying.

Zoroastrians follow two different calendars; some follow the Shenshai calendar and others the Fasli calendar. Main days of observance:

Jamshedi Noruz (Fasli): New Year’s Day according to the Fasli calendar used in Iran.

Khordad Sal (Fasli)

Farvandigan (Fasli)

Zartusht-no-Diso (Shenshai)

Farvardigan

No Ruz (Shenshai): New Year’s Day on the Shenshai calendar.

Khordad Sal (Shenshai)

Fravardin (Shenshai)

Zartusht-no-Diso (Fasli)


Dying

Death customs

Zoroastrians prefer to die quietly and without being disturbed.

Zoroastrians are either cremated or buried. It is important to dispose of the body as soon as possible after due paperwork and prayers for the dead have been performed. At least one priest should perform these prayers which can last for about one hour, prior to the funeral.



Resources (texts, community facilities etc.)

The Zoroastrian faith is headquartered in the UK

Names

Each Zoroastrian has one first name. The father's name appears as the second name. The family name serves as the surname.


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