• Switzerland edition
Lucerne approves Hindu death rites in river
Edwin Lee (File)

Lucerne approves Hindu death rites in river

Published: 19 Jun 2012 13:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Jun 2012 12:12 GMT+02:00

Hindus have welcomed a decision by the city of Lucerne that officially allows them to perform death rites in the Reuss River.

Such rites were previously performed informally but the city in central Switzerland, whose residents are predominantly Catholic, decided to give its full backing after an environmental study was conducted.

The study showed that as many as 20 ceremonies, involving the dispersion of ashes from an urn into the water, can be held annually without any harm to the environment.

Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, commended the city of Lucerne for its respect for the religious traditions of Hindus who live in the region.

In a statement issued from the state of Nevada in the US, Zed called the city’s move a “step in the right direction”.

He urged other cities around the world to allow Hindus to scatter the ashes of loved ones into rivers.

Zed said the city of Bristol in the UK is also reportedly considering the River Avon as an approved site for the ritual.

Hindus regard their religion as the oldest in the world with about one billion adherents.

The scattering of ashes into a body of water shortly after cremation is one of its customs.

Andreas Tunger, who studies religion at the University of Lucerne, believes the city’s decision is a first for Switzerland.

“This appears to be the first time an official place has been named,” Tunger told World Radio Switzerland.

“In other cantons there are already cases where contact between the Hindu communities and cantonal authorities, or local ones, have taken place, but more on an informal basis.”

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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Your comments about this article

2012-06-29 17:27:41 by kkc
smeghead, It's odd to you because you don't understand the deeper meaning, which is also why you are in no position to say whether its the wrong direction or the right direction. Secondly, a significant percent of foreigners live and contribute to a lively and vibrant Switzerland... maybe you should look at things in a more positive light and not make assumptions about bowing down to wishes of immigrants (note correct spelling) especially as placing ashes in a river in no way affects you personally...! Finally most foreigners in Switzerland are here either because they work damn hard or they are highly educated and contribute to the economy. The number of trouble makers are relatively very, very few. Take out all the foreigners and the Swiss economy would shrink very fast ... imagine banks with no internationals or Nestlé, Siemens etc.... so I don't think it's too much to ask bigoted people like you to open up your minds and be a bit more polite, friendly and accommodating.
2012-06-20 08:24:16 by smeghead
Great a ritual that is odd to say the least, to allow such things is a step in wrong direction, this will open the flood gates too all such things and before you know it switzerland will become like many other lands bowing down to the wishes of imigrants
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