How to mark the anniversary of the death of a loved one

Posted: 12/06/2018

A death anniversary can be a time by which you can dedicate to remembering your loved one for who they were and what they brought to your life whilst they lived and in death. This can be a personal time or a time for the family and friends of the deceased to come together in joint remembrance.

How ever you want to mark the anniversary of a friend or family members passing, there are many ways to pay tribute to them on the anniversary of their death or even their birthday.

Different Cultures & History

Death anniversaries are actually very significant in some cultures, but so not so much in others. For example, in Hinduism, a death anniversary (shraddha) is very much a significant time for the family to pay respects to the person who has passed away and for the living to reflect as well as celebrate on the time they all had together.

Over in China, the anniversary of someone’s death is called jíchén and is marked as a time to make offerings to the spirit of the person who has died.

In the Philippines, the one year anniversary is known as the babang luksa and is used to signify the conclusion of a 12-month period of mourning which is traditionally observed.

In the Jewish faith, families mark the death of a loved one by lighting a yahrzeit memorial candle. This is a sign of acknowledgement of the anniversary of someone’s death. Candle lighting is memorial services are also important in faiths such as Roman Catholicism.


In Victorian England, death anniversaries were considered a ritual by contemporaries. Long and strict periods of mourning were routinely observed and were considered an important part of the grieving process for the family of the deceased. In the Victorian era, it was not just a one year anniversary, it was year on year on year – as encouraged by Queen Victoria’s own 40 year mourning period until her death of her late husband Prince Albert.


Why acknowledge a death anniversary?

Unless it is already part of your culture or religion, it may not be something you have necessarily thought about but it may actually be a good step in the grieving process.

The anniversary of someone’s death could simply act as a day to avoid painful reminders, to try and carry on with your day as usual or you could plan a day away from normal life to avoid bringing back difficult memories.

On the flip side, you could actually acknowledge the death anniversary, which may understandably be overwhelming at first. Doing so can be a special way to reaffirm and remember your relationship with a loved one.

Although there no right or wrong way to honour your loved one come the anniversary of their death, some ideas which may inspire you are below.

Memorial Jewellery


Widely available in the market are craftsmen and women as well as designers who will be able to turn you loved ones ashes into jewellery for you.

You could also have a locket containing a photo or engraved piece for jewellery with a message of significance on it made.

A charm bracelet is a lovely idea as a way to mark their anniversary each year, adding a new charm on the date each time. Or each charm could signify a special memory you had with them.

Support a charity in their honour


Whether your loved one was passionate about a certain thing or had died as a result of a certain disease, you can remember someone by donating to a certain charity and/or encouraging others to do the same.

You could opt to do a sponsored event in their honour; you could take it into your own hands or join an organised annual sponsored run or cycle etc.

Create a peaceful shrine

Why not dedicate a quiet place in your home to your loved one. The shrine could include pictures, mementoes and candles which you could light on the anniversary of their death.

Pre-paid funeral plan

If you are worried about the rising price of a funeral in the UK, you could opt for a prepaid funeral plan. This essentially freezes the price of today’s funeral and will relieve you and your family of any financial stress in this department.