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Culture and Grief/Mourning

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Do you think people in mourning behave differently according to their culture? Is grief a universal emotion.

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Please see response attached, which is also presented below. I hope this helps and take care.


1. Do you think people in mourning behave differently according to their culture?

People in mourning behave differently according to culture. The potential for contradiction between an individual's interpersonal experience of grief and his or her cultural expression of grief can be explained by the prevalent (though incorrect), synonymous use of the terms grief (the highly personalized process of experiencing reactions to perceived loss) and mourning (the socially or culturally defined behavioral displays of grief). An analysis by Cowles of the results of several focus groups, each consisting of individuals from a specific culture, reveals that individual, interpersonal experiences of grief are similar across cultural boundaries. This is true even considering the culturally distinct mourning rituals, traditions, and behavioral expressions of grief experienced by the participants. (2)

Notice in the following example, how the Jewish mourning rituals differ from YOUR culture.

Example: Jewish Mourning Rituals (excerpt)

Mourning rituals in Judaism are extensive. Ritualized mourning has several purposes: it shows respect for the dead, comforts those left behind, helps prevent excessive mourning, and eventually helps the bereaved to return to normal life. Mourning is observed for 30 days after burial, very intensely so in the first seven days. Regular remembrances are performed in the years following the death.

Upon first hearing of the death of a close relative (parent, child, sibling or spouse), grief is traditionally expressed by tearing (keriyah) one's clothing. The bereaved will wear the torn clothing through the first seven days of mourning. The relative then recites a blessing describing God as the true Judge.

During the period between death and burial (aninut), the primary responsibility of mourners is to care for the dead and prepare the body for burial. This duty takes precedence over all other commandments. The family is left alone to grieve during aninut; calls or visits should not be made during this time.

After the burial, a relative or friend ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses how people in mourning behave differently according to their culture, as well as discusses if grief is a universal emotion.