Memorial days play a significant role in the grief and healing process, providing a dedicated space and time for reflection, remembrance, and honouring those who are no longer with us. While each culture and community may have its unique memorial traditions, the purpose remains universal – to pay tribute to those who have died, continuing bonds and therefore acknowledging the impact they had on us, and find hope and healing in shared memories.

Memorial Days:

Memorial days serve as collective opportunities for communities to come together and remember. These days can be rooted in religious, cultural, or national significance, offering a joint, non-judgemental space for people to share memories and their grief. Memorial traditions can also be deeply personal, and differ in cultures around the world, with each one holding a unique meaning for those who observe it. This may also change over time and be recognised in different ways.

The Importance of Communal Remembrance:

Communal remembrance can foster a sense of support and coming together for one purpose. Shared rituals, ceremonies, and commemorations allow people to connect with others who have experienced similar experiences, creating a sense of understanding and empathy, and reducing isolation in grief.

Universal Remembrance:

Days of remembrance can be local, national or global. An example of a Global Day of Remembrance is Holocaust Memorial Day, observed on the 27th January this year. It serves as a poignant reminder of the millions of lives lost during a historical event, and the importance of preventing such events in the future. While specific days may focus on historical events, the broader message is one of universal remembrance. The stories of resilience, courage, and the consequences of discrimination are crucial in shaping a more compassionate world.


People can create meaningful, personal rituals to remember special people to them. This could involve lighting a candle, visiting a special place, or engaging in activities that were meaningful to them, together. This helps continue the bonds they had and maintain a connection with their memories.

Diverse Grief Experiences:

Memorial days also provide a platform for people to honour diverse expressions of their own grief. Different memorial days around the globe may be celebrated or marked in non-traditional ways, for example by a celebratory festival, an art exhibition, through music, writing, or simply spending quiet moments in reflection. It’s important to remember that grief is unique, and every individual has the right to experience their grief in their own way.

Supporting Others:

Memorial days also present an opportunity to offer support to those who are grieving. Compassion, understanding, and active listening is important to help others through difficult times. Encouraging open conversations and sharing memories can help provide comfort.

Memorial days are an important reminder of the power of remembrance and continuing bonds with those who have died. As we observe many of these days throughout the year, and Holocaust Memorial Day tomorrow, we remember the past, and those who were alive during such turbulent times, but also commit to creating compassionate communities, having empathy for all and being inclusive to everyone’s faiths, beliefs and rituals.