As Narayanan explains, "Rituals give us a way of cathartically dealing with our grief.
Family and friends played a major role in arranging marriages, especially if land and other wealth accompanied the union.
In Vedic times, there were incidents of the putrika--a daughter who could assume the role of a son.
In later years, the religious patriarchy interpreted the putrika as the grandson, and reserved the conducting of the last rites for males.
In most Hindu families, the body is bathed immediately after death, sometimes by women in the family.
In Hinduism, they are conducted every month for a year after the death, based on tithi (the phase of the moon), and then once annually by the same person who performed the last rites.The parents and siblings in the families had a concern in the marriage, and the lord also wished to keep some accounting of village marrieages.In cases where the marriage was part of the family's economic and social strategy, careful planning by the whole unit was needed, for a good marriage could bring considerable economic benefits.When the person dies, the family is in a state of grief.To respect this, no cooking is done in the house until the cremation takes place.Some were from poor families who had nothing to negotiate and hence would either not marry or marry whom they pleased.It was even possible that in times of land shortage, family interference in marriage was less common because they had nothing to bargain with.When you read them in a class or at other times, they are very beautiful.But when you read them in a time of pain, they are almost like a revelation, and it's like a soothing hand on you." Some Indian-Americans journey all the way back to India to immerse the ashes in the Ganges or visit many pilgrimage sites to seek blessings for the departed soul and solace for their own pain."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.