A World of Funerals

Funerals are ceremonies centered around the final dealings with a corpse, which include things like cremation or burial. More than that, though, funerals are a way to celebrate the life of the deceased person and the impact they had on the world. Over time, many peoples of this world have developed traditions to honor death.

 

Parsi Towers Of Silence

Tower of Silence: Where Zoroastrians Leave their Dead to the Scavenging  Birds

These towers are used in Zoroastrian funerals. The dead are laid out on the tower to be devoured by birds. Their bones are then collected and placed in the tower’s central pit to decay; eventually, rainwater washes the bones through the tower to purify them and to return them to the earth.

 

Funerary Cannibalism

Cannibalism: Archaeology and Anthropology

This custom is found in areas of Africa, South America, and Oceania. In this tradition, the dead are eaten for reasons such as an act of compassion or absorbing the deceased’s life force.

 

Jazz Funerals

Jazz funeral - Wikipedia

Unique to New Orleans and Cajun culture, this custom calls for a jazz procession to lead the deceased to the grave while playing a funeral dirge or other sad music; afterwards, the band plays jazz on the way to and at a post-funeral party.

 

Charon’s Obol

Charon's obol - Wikipedia

An obol is an Ancient Greek coin; this coin was left with the dead person to pay the ferryman Charon who would take them to Hades, the Underworld. The tradition has lasted for some time in various forms; Pope Pius X was buried with a coin upon his death in 1878.

 

Jade Burial Suit

Jade burial suit - Wikipedia

Members of Imperial China’s Han Dynasty were buried in ceremonial suits made of pieces of cut jade; these pieces were wired together to resemble an entire suit of armour.

 

Hanging Coffins

Hanging Coffins of Sagada – Sagada, Philippines - Atlas Obscura

The people of Sagada, Philippines believe that a coffin being closer to the sky means that the dead person inside is closer to heaven; to that end, they will hang their coffins high up on mountainsides in places that are difficult to reach.

 

Kiribati Skull Burial

The HeartWay on Twitter: "History of Burial Rights: Kiribati Skull Burial  Unique practice #skull #history #burialrites https://t.co/rutS8ecBHo  http://t.co/AzJXcaX8z0" / Twitter

In the Central Pacific nation of Kiribati, people will exhume a body several months after burial. They will then clean, preserve, and display the skull in their home; offerings will then occasionally be made to the skull.

 

Burial Beads

Funeral & Burial Rituals From Around The World | Everplans

Since space is at a premium in South Korea, people have gotten innovative; corpses will sometimes be cremated and pressed into beads, which are then kept in an urn or bottle.

 

Famadihana

Famadihana - Wikipedia

In this ritual, the people of Madagascar will dig up their dead every five to seven years; they will then “take care of them” by rewrapping and perfuming them, then dance with them and share stories.

 

Eternal Reefs

Eternal Reefs - burial at sea reef ball » Eternal Reefs » Living legacies  that memorialize the passing of a loved one

In this unique Florida custom, the dead are cremated and their ashes are mixed into a material of almost natural pH concrete. They are then shaped into a “reef ball” and placed in the ocean for marine life to take root.

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