Sympathy Etiquette Guide: Hindu Traditions

August 28, 2013    |    By +
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Choosing sympathy gifts is never easy. How can any gift fill the void of a missing loved one? It’s a tall order, but remember, no one actually expects a sympathy gift to eliminate the grief. Still, a gift adds a bright touch to an otherwise dark time, so my suggestion is to always give when the opportunity arises. But, there are some guidelines that you need to be aware of so that you don’t offend people you care about and are trying to help. Being sensitive to friends’ and acquaintances’ cultural traditions is always a must, but it’s especially crucial at this fragile time. Some gifts or gestures that are your go-to’s may turn out to be big no-go’s, depending on the culture. With this in mind, I’m doing a series on sympathy etiquette by tradition to help you navigate sympathy gifts. Today, we focus on the Hindu faith.

In Hindu culture, funerals are usually held within twenty-four hours of the death, and after the funeral, friends may visit the family’s home where the body is usually kept until it is cremated. During this time, it is tradition to bring fruit to the family. Consider perhaps putting together a basket of assorted colorful fruits. Don’t exchange greetings with the family of the deceased. You can nod in sympathy, hug or touch, but don’t ask about their well-being. Less is more in this case.

 With these notes, you’re assured you won’t make a regrettable mistake during a tough time. See’s other etiquette guides for sympathy by tradition posts and shop all of our handpicked sympathy gifts with these guidelines in mind.




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Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.