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"This is particularly common for people from South India.
These invocations bring the peace that everyone is searching for in the days after death--peace for the mind and the soul." The Shraddha ritual, in which food and prayers for the departed soul are offered, goes back to Vedic times.
"The protocol that surrounds the Hindu funeral in America has changed, the style and texture of the event is far more Americanized than any other rite of passage," observes Narayanan.
Indeed, the body is not kept at home as in India but must be taken immediately to a funeral home, and the funeral services reflect Judeo-Christian ones, with mourners watching the rituals take place, while in India these are done in private.
In recent years, people have substituted other activities in lieu of the Shraddha, such as feeding the poor or giving donations to orphanages.
Feeding people in memory of the dead is considered particularly meritorious.
In Vedic times, there were incidents of the putrika--a daughter who could assume the role of a son.