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What does it mean when it rains at a funeral?

It’s not uncommon for rain to fall during funeral services. But what does it actually mean when the skies open up as you’re laying a loved one to rest? Is it simply an atmospheric occurrence? Or could it signify something more? Let’s explore some of the beliefs and meanings around rain at funerals.

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to what rain at a funeral could represent:

  • Tears from heaven – It’s raining because even the angels are crying for your loss.
  • Cleansing – The rain is washing away grief and pain, purifying the soul.
  • Rebirth – Rain brings new life, symbolizing the circle of life after death.
  • A blessing – In some cultures, rain is seen as luck or a blessing at weddings and funerals.
  • A message – The departed is communicating through the rain, sending signs of their presence.

Of course, a rainy funeral could simply mean it just happened to rain that day. But many find comfort in believing the rain has a deeper spiritual meaning.

Rain as Tears from Heaven

One of the most common interpretations is that rain represents tears from heaven. The rain symbolizes grief – not only the mourners’ grief, but also grief felt by God, angels, or other spiritual beings.

Many find this idea comforting. It suggests that even the heavens are crying along with you in your time of loss. The rain is a visible manifestation of the collective sadness surrounding the ceremony.

This belief is especially prevalent in Catholic and Christian traditions. But the general notion that rain represents sorrow from above resonates across many faiths and cultures.

Poignant Examples

There are numerous poignant examples of rain seeming to cry from the heavens at major funerals:

  • At Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, there was a heavy downpour as her casket left Westminster Abbey.
  • Steady rain fell during the entire funeral ceremony for Pope John Paul II in 2005.
  • A rainstorm arrived just as Steve Jobs’ memorial concluded in 2011, moves some to tears.

In these solemn moments, the rain seemed to viscerally reflect the collective grief of mourners around the globe.

Rain as Cleansing and Rebirth

Rain is also frequently seen as a symbol of cleansing, renewal, and rebirth. The water washes away pain, grief, or evil, purifying the soul both literally and metaphorically.

In many cultures and religions, water represents purification and restoration. The rain cleanses the living and even the deceased, providing hydration to souls parched by grief. It quenches spiritual thirst and replenishes both body and spirit.

Furthermore, rain nourishes the earth, allowing new life to bloom even in the darkest times. This resonates with the concept of rebirth after death. The rain signifies the circular nature of life, how the end leads back to the beginning.

Cultural Examples

Here are some examples of how rain symbolizes rebirth and renewal across cultures:

  • In Islam, rain is considered purifying and is sometimes interpreted as God’s mercy.
  • Chinese Taoists see rain as nourishing Chi or life force energy.
  • Native American rituals often invoke rain to cleanse and reconnect.
  • Ancient Greek myths depict rain as a means of purifying both body and soul.

So in many spiritual traditions, the rain falling at a funeral is not simply coincidence. It carries a message of hope, cleansing, and new beginnings.

Rain as a Blessing

In some cultural and spiritual outlooks, rain is an auspicious sign. It’s considered good fortune, a blessing from above.

When rain falls at a wedding, for example, it is believed to bless the couple’s union in many regions around the world. The same can hold true at a funeral. The rain is a beneficent sign, even if it seems gloomy.

Here are some examples of rain symbolizing blessings:

  • In Hindu customs, rain on important occasions is seen as the gods’ blessing.
  • Chinese traditions hold that rain on a burial day signifies the deceased has found peace.
  • Some African cultures interpret rain as an ancestor spirit weeping in celebration of a life.
  • An old European folk belief stated that heavy rain foretold the deceased going to Heaven.

So in cultures where water is life-giving rather than ominous, the rain is something to embrace, not lament. It’s a good omen spreading divine favor over the ritual.

Rain as a Message from Beyond

Finally, some view rain at a funeral as a deliberate message or sign from beyond the grave. The unusual timing makes it seem as if supernatural forces caused this weather.

The loved one may be directly influencing the rain from the afterlife. They send wind and rain to make their presence known, communicating I’m still here or farewell for now.

This rain could even be a reminder of the deceased’s favorite weather, like storms for a free spirit. It reflects their personalities or interests.

Sensing a Presence

Have you ever sensed a presence or message in unusual funeral weather? Some examples:

  • A man who loved sailing is honored by a gentle sea breeze stirring the air.
  • A woman who adored gardening is bid farewell with a soft spring rain.
  • A crash of thunder seems to signal the fiery spirit of an outgoing friend.

In cases like these, the weather corresponds so fittingly to the deceased that mourners can’t help but see significance. The rain conveys their enduring bond.


So what does it really mean when rain falls at a funeral? There are many possible interpretations according to different spiritual outlooks. Some see the rain as:

  • Tears from heaven mourning the loss
  • Cleansing waters to renew the soul
  • Good fortune and blessings from above
  • A message from the departed’s spirit

Of course, there’s no obligation to assign any meaning at all. But for many grieving hearts, the rain’s symbolism brings consolation amid loss. The water from above whispers that our loved ones remain connected, even when moving on to realms beyond this world.