The 40-day memorial period for the dead person

The 40-day memorial period for the dead person has a major significance in traditions of Eastern Orthodox, Middle Eastern culture and other cultures.​It is believed that the soul of the departed remain wandering on Earth during the 40-day period, coming back home, visiting places the departed has lived in as well as their fresh grave. ​In Russian and Greek​tradition, bread and a glass of water is put in the ​icon corner in the house of the departed. The bread and water are intended for the departed and other deceased ancestors who will visit to remember him. 

The glass is refilled with fresh water daily while water from the previous day is poured out. It is common to make up the bed for the departed during the 40-day period, donating the bedding to the poor on the 40th Day.

 A towel for the departed is hung next to the window and brought to the church on the 40th Day. The house doors are adorned with spruce branches for the departed to easily find his house and for the passersby to give their respects. On the 40th Day the branches are brought to the cemetery or burned. ​In the Middle East they use palm tree staff, they put fresh staff on the grave.​

All remaining ritual items in memory of the departed are removed from the house, his cloth is donated to the poor.​ All ceremonial restrictions are also lifted on the 40th Day, it is no longer prohibited to lay on the departed bed, to leave the house empty and locked, to turn off the light in the departed room, to touch the departed cloth, etc.

It is also no longer prohibited to decorate the departed grave.​As some do believe that some souls will come back to the place, wander around, and check on their beds, chair and favorite spots and pets.

The family gathers on the 40th Day inviting those who wish to remember the departed visiting the grave and the church and having a memorial meal at the house. The church serves the 40th Day panihida  with prayers comforting the living and reminding the living of the brevity of life. The meal at the house includes traditional dishes of remembrance:kutia, kissels, honey drinks. In some traditions all night vigils with intense prayers are held on the night before the 40th Day.

The Motive of the 40th Day is “we said goodbye to you, no longer come to us, we will come to you.” After the 40th Day the living can no longer grieve about the departed, they must move on with their lives. All funeral wreaths are removed from the grave and burned.

​In Muslim tradition reading of the holy Quran, prayers will start day before until dawn in memory of the person, and they donate money and food to the poor almost daily to the end of the 40 days .They call it Sadaqa . Continue Reading →