First Hindu Cemetery in Hamm Opens with Flowers, Music and Fire Ceremony


HAMM, GERMANY, October 10, 2015 (Faz): With colorful ceremony Hindus have consecrated their first cemetery in Germany. Priests in orange and red robes blessed the nearly 2,000-square-meter space which borders the municipal cemetery. They threw colorful blossoms, burned incense, played on traditional Indian instruments and rang little bells. 

But not all the traditional mourning rituals can be performed in Hamm. In India and Nepal, where in each case a majority of the population are Hindus, the remains will be burned in the open air. The ashes are then scattered in a sacred river such as the Ganges. In Germany, the rituals must be adapted to the law. A cremation here is followed by burial in an urn. [Scattering the ashes of a deceased on a water body is prohibited.] At other places in Europe there are exceptions. For example at Lucerne in Switzerland. There, the ashes may be scattered in a river. A Hindu cemetery is not needed in Norway because funeral urns may be sunk in a fjord.  The priest of the largest Hindu temple in Hamm, Arumugan Paskaran, believes that the new cemetery will be well accepted by his parishioners. Hamm has been a religious center of the Hindus. With 25,000 parishioners it ranks behind the number one in Europe, London, site of Europe’s largest Hindu temple. There are nearly 100,000 Hindus living in Germany, including those of Indian, Sri Lankan, Balinese, European and Afghan origin.