Major Hindu Family Rituals
There are four major samskaras, or life-cycle rites, that mark the prominent transitions of a Hindu's life. These are namakarana (naming of a child), upanayana (initiation thread ceremony for males of the first three castes), vivaha (wedding), and antyeshi samskara (funeral sacrament). A Brahmin is usually involved in conducting these rituals. Along with the nuclear and extended family, relatives and friends attend and participate in these rituals. The death rite has to be performed by the son (preferably the oldest), or the closest male extended family member or relative who is available. In the case of the wedding and funeral rites, the ceremonies can last for many days. The most expensive of these rituals is the wedding ceremony because most families like to celebrate it with pomp and show.