Australia has welcomed people from many and varied Cultures, faiths, and backgrounds over the years. This wonderful ‘melting pot’ of ethnicities has led to a vibrant, multicultural society. We help you meet your cultural and religious requirements when it comes to the passing of – and funeral for – your loved one. Multi cultural funeral services can be tailored to suit your family’s specific needs.

We liaise with Religious Temples, Churches, and Community Groups to help your family and friends celebrate the life of your loved one no matter what their background. Religious and Cultural customs are followed as closely as the family wishes. Some people are very traditional – others prefer only a touch of tradition in a more modern Celebration.

Our Director has served the multicultural community of Regional Victoria and Melbourne for many years. Our hands on approach provides reassurance for families of different faiths and Cultures during this emotional time.
We acknowledge that people within a certain Culture may not observe the exact same traditions as others from the same Culture. We help you incorporate your own unique style into the Funeral or Celebration Service. Customising the service this way showcases your loved one’s culture or Religion, and also their unique place within it.

Damian Meehan – our Director – has variety within his own family too. Damian had an uncle who was a Catholic Priest before passing away around 5 years ago, and also has a cousin who is a practising Buddhist Monk at a Thai Monastery in Melbourne. Damian is also married to a lovely Chinese girl (Kelly Yang), who also works in Crane Funeral Services. All families really are unique and diverse. We understand that multi cultural funerals are important now and on into Australia’s future. We would be honoured to help you and your family celebrate this diversity during your time of need.

You are in control of the role your particular traditions play in the Service. Crane Funerals has respect and an accepting attitude to all we serve. Providing reassurance to your family through personal service and genuine care. We welcome you to share your customs with us, so we can discuss how your particular Funeral or Celebration ideas can become reality. Use our contact form or call us on 5977 7198 or 04477CRANE.


In the interests of exploring diversity, we provide a brief rundown of Multicultural beliefs surrounding death and funerals. Please note that what follows does not fully detail all of the particular intricacies of a given Religion / Culture. Individuals and their families may wish to be treated differently than what their tradition might normally advise. When considering a dying person’s needs before and after death, the final say should come from the person themselves, as well as their family.

Not all people within a particular race practice the same rituals or have the same beliefs. Even the language of people from the same race can be quite different. The information that follows is a general guide only. Crane Funerals always seeks specific Cultural / Religious guidance from each family, to ensure the exact service they wish for.


Catholics believe that after dying they will see God face to face. They often believe that anyone who has committed a grave offence needs to repent at the time of death. Failure to do so would result in being left out of the full glory of heaven.

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will often be delivered to the elderly and the dying if they wish to receive it. This can be received at Church, or when necessary the Priest will visit the Nursing Home or hospital. Following the person’s death, the Priest will be involved in comforting the family.

A Catholic Funeral, or Requiem Mass, aims to ask God to receive their soul into his glory in Heaven. A prayer service may be held the night before – or immediately prior to – the Mass. Scriptures, prayers and hymns are included in the Requiem Mass.

In the case of a Catholic Burial, the Rite of Committal will be conducted at the graveside. This forms the final prayers for the deceased. The Priest will bless the grave with Holy Water. If the family has chosen Cremation, the entire Service may be held at the Church. The family may also choose to go to a Crematorium Chapel for a Committal Service.

In the Catholic Church, prayers will often be offered for the Parishoners who have passed away over the last 12 months. Family and friends might choose to visit the grave on Religious Holidays, or on occasions such as the deceased’s birthday or anniversary. To mark their relationship to the deceased, flowers or other objects may be left on the grave.

Buddhists generally believe in rebirth after death. Their goal is to escape the cycle of death and rebirth and attain perfect peace. There are many types of Buddhism, and many ways each type deals with death.

The person who is dying will often seek guidance from a Monk or a Master in their particular Buddhist tradition to assist them in a peaceful crossover from life to death. A happy state of mind is seen as important, so that the deceased can also have a happy rebirth. Before and at the moment of passing, the Monk or other Spiritual friends may chant Buddhist Scriptures to assist the peaceful transition.
Buddhists believe normally that the spirit leaves the body immediately after death. It is important that the deceased is treated with respect and dignity in case their spirit remains near the body for a time. Treating the deceased well means that their spirit is free to pursue a happy state of rebirth.

Funeral Services will vary due to the different types of Buddhism. Often it will be a simple service at a Crematorium Chapel. The family might choose to surround their loved one’s coffin with treasured objects / memorials. Monks will often attend and chant Scriptures. Depending on the particular beliefs, either cremation or burial may be chosen.

Buddhists might often do things to wish for the happiness of their deceased loved one. For example, in a South East Asian tradition, Lay Buddhists will give offerings to the Monks in memory of the deceased. The family will visit the grave, especially on different Festivals during the year.

Maori people who hold true to Tradition, believe the spirit of the deceased lives on after death. The deceased is said to have a place in the traditional meeting place – the Marae. Maori people whenever possible, will visit the person before they pass away. This sense of Community offers great support in a difficult time for the family.

Different customs may apply following the person’s death. Ceremonies to free the Spirit from the body are often very important. Family members will normally have some involvement in the cleaning and dressing of their loved one. Often the family will request their loved one is bought home for a night or two prior to the Funeral Ceremony. Family members, as well as friends of the deceased, will share their grief openly with each other.

A close family member will deliver the Eulogy at the Service. Singing may feature both at the home before the Ceremony, at the Funeral itself, and again following the Service. Mourners will share food as well after the Funeral – another way the Maori Community supports one another in difficult times.

Incantations and prayers – Karakia – will be offered to guide the Spirit in the right direction. Burial is generally chosen to return the deceased to the Earth – or Papatuanuku.

A big feast will follow a lot of Maori Funerals. The family home will be blessed to comfort the family, and to ensure that they deceased has no reason to linger or return. The family will often visit the grave of their loved one to offer their respects and best wishes.

Members of the Greek Orthodox Community believe in eternal life. The loved one who has passed away is alive with God. Their soul separates from their body until the Last Judgement, when they reunite once more.

Rituals from centuries ago are still adhered to today. Generally the deceased will be taken home for one final visit on the way to the Church. Family will light incense and wailing is common in mourners gathered at the hearse.

greek-funerals Multi Cultural Funerals
Greek Funeral Service

An Orthodox Priest will give the last anointing. Many times candles will be lit for 40 days following the death. The reason for this is the belief that the soul of the deceased will roam on Earth for 40 days, as did Christ. The candles are symbolic in seeking forgiveness on behalf of the deceased.

Mourners light a candle upon entering the Church at the Funeral. The coffin is normally open and an Icon will be placed on the deceased or somewhere on the coffin. Following the Service, mourners will file past the coffin and pays respects to the deceased and the Icon, and offer condolences to the Family.

The deceased will generally be buried facing East. A mixture of wine and oil, along with some wheat or bread, is poured over the coffin once it has been lowered. This is done after the final prayer, and is offered as nourishment for the should of the deceased. The Priest will sprinkle a handful of Earth into the grave, followed by the family and friends who have gathered at the graveside.

Cremation is generally not permitted in the Greek Orthodox religion. The belief is that we are made from Earth, and unto Earth we shall return.

A Minister will often come to visit with the ill and their family, to assist them all in preparing for the death. Mixed feelings of joy (due to meeting God after death), and sadness (due to the loss of a loved one), surround the occasion.

Different customs may be adhered to depending on the particular branch of Christianity. The Minister will be available to offer comfort to the family. The Minister may also assist in the details of how the Funeral Service will be arranged.

Friends often will send sympathy cards to the family of the deceased. They may also send flowers, or assist the family in some other way such as providing meals or assisting with day to day necessities.

A Burial or Cremation will be chosen depending on the preference of the deceased. The Service will often be held at the Church, but the Minister will generally go to another Service Venue if that is what the family desires. Hymns will be sung. Readings and prayers will be offered to celebrate the deceased’s Faith.

As with most Funerals, mourners may have the chance to view their loved one before the commencement of the Service. This provides people the opportunity to say a last farewell.
Family and friends might visit the grave on special occasions such as Birthdays, Christmas, or Anniversaries. On these occasions, flowers or other suitable objects may be left on the grave in remembrance of the deceased.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that God will resurrect them after death. If they gain entrance to Heaven they will live with God. For most of mankind however, the resurrection will lead to a Paradise here on Earth.

Elders from the Church will visit and pray with the person before death whenever possible. The Elder is there to provide comfort both to the sick, and to the family after the passing of their loved one.

Generally the Service will be held at the Kingdom Hall. Another Venue may be chosen depending on the wishes of the deceased or their family. A Church Elder incorporates a Sermon, prayers, and singing into the Funeral.

The entire Service may take place at the main Venue, or a short Committal Service may be held at graveside. Relatives and friends will offer condolences at the gathering after the Service. As is common in other Religions, cards and flowers are often sent to the family. Family and friends will remember the deceased at the grave site on special occasions.

Hindus worship one or more Gods and Goddesses. Reincarnation of the deceased – the effort of their soul to reach Nirvana – is a celebratory time in the midst of great sadness.

The dying person may receive last rites from a Priest. Holy songs may be sung, and prayers or Holy texts recited. The deceased may be sprinkled with water from the Sacred Ganges. Particular rituals will depend on the family’s beliefs, but may include tying thread around the deceased’s neck and wrist.

The deceased will often be perceived as unclean. People avoid touching them because of this, but they will still gather around the deceased and pray.

White traditional clothing is generally the preferred outfit for the deceased in the coffin. Thorough bathing / cleaning will take place before the deceased is dressed and laid to rest. If a woman dies before her husband, often she will be dressed in red.

At the entrance to the Crematorium, prayers will be offered for the deceased. Flowers and sandalwood will often be place on the deceased and around them inside the coffin. Scriptures are read as part of the Ceremony, and the body’s soul is prayed for.

In an effort to release the Spirit of the deceased, Hindus believe in Cremation. The flames are representative of the “Creator”, Brahma. Of course in Australia we do not have the mighty Ganges, and Funeral Pyres have given way to modern crematoriums.

Sympathies are offered to the family during the mourning period. A Priest will purify the family home with incense and spices.

Similar to the Greek Orthodox belief, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints followers believe that the body and soul separate after death. The Spirit goes to the Spirt World before being reunited with the body. Following this, Judgement occurs and the person will be received into Heaven to reside with God.

Support will be given to the dying member and their family. The Ward Bishop and members of the Church will be involved in this support process. The Ward Bishop will often assist the family with Funeral arrangements following their loved one’s passing.

Services will take place in a Ward Chapel or some other Venue. The Funeral is seen as a Celebration of Life as much as it is a mournful event. Prayers, music, eulogies, and messages will make up the Funeral. The Service is meant to bring comfort to the family, and the belief that families will be reunited in life after death adds to this.

The grave is blessed as a place of peace for the family to visit. Cremation is generally frowned upon by the Mormon Faith.

Friends and relatives will be with the dying person and recite from Religious texts. They believe in reincarnation and an afterlife where the soul meets God.

Following their death, the deceased will be washed and dried, and dressed in clean clothing. Non Sikhs may attend the body at death. The deceased may have five articles of Faith in the coffin with them, uncut hair, a wooden comb, a metal bracelet, a specific style of cotton undergarment, and a strapped curved sword.

Cremation is the norm for Sikhs. The Service will take place as soon as possible. Family and friends will generally drive in procession to the Crematorium for the Funeral. It is normally forbidden to cry, due to the fact that death is seen as an act of God as opposed to a sad occasion.

There may be a viewing where people can say a final farewell to the deceased. Prayers will be recited, and hymns may be sung. A symbol of God’s blessing will be received at the Temple following the Cremation. This is a kind of food offering called prasad.

Seventh Day Adventist see death as an unconscious sleep. God will awaken all those who believe in him, and they will all go to Heaven to live with him.

Death is seen as part of God’s plan. Support will be offered to the dying person from the Minister or from a Lay Group Leader. The same person will be there to offer support to the family of the dying person.

Friends will be inclined to visit and offer condolences and support to the family. Preparations for the Funeral might also involve the Minister’s input.

If the family wishes to organise a viewing, friends will normally be invited to say their farewell to the deceased. The Ceremony will include scriptures, singing, sermons, and prayers. It usually takes place at the Church, but sometimes at another Venue.

Burial and Cremation are both acceptable. A Committal Service will normally take place after the main Service. As the deceased is committed to the Earth or the Crematorium, prayers and scriptures are offered.

Relatives and friends will visit the family and offer support in the form of words of comfort, gifts (such as flowers), or food.