8 Interesting Funeral Traditions You Didn’t Know About
Funeral traditions vary greatly around the world, and even within cultures, there can be a wide variety of practices. From incredibly elaborate ceremonies to simpler affairs, these customs are often deeply rooted in history and culture. In some cases, funeral traditions have been passed down through generations without much change or explanation as to why they exist. This article will explore some interesting funerary rituals from various countries that you may not have heard about before.
This has long been an interesting option for people when choosing the traditional route of a funeral situation. Families tend to build a private mausoleum for their loved ones who passed in order to commemorate them using this structure. These are above-ground buildings made to house many tombs that can provide a special and unique way to commemorate departed loved ones.
Whether it’s a single-family mausoleum or one shared by a group of families, these monuments offer an eternal resting place that also serves as remarkable memorials for those who visit to honor their memory. These grand beauties often include intricate embellishments and exteriors that truly make them stunning works of art found in many cemeteries all over the world.
Sky Burials In Tibet
Sky burials, or “jhater”, are an ancient Tibetan custom that is still practiced today. This unique method of funeral saw close relatives carry the body of their loved one to a high altitude atop a sacred mountain and offer it up to be scavenged by the elements or vultures. Believed to be a type of religious offering, sky burials depict the Buddhist belief in reincarnation and the cycle of death and rebirth.
As majestic as it sounds, this ceremony is deeply symbolic and deeply rooted in both culture and spirituality. The spirit of nature plays an integral role as tantric monks chant prayers aimed at dissolving the corpse into nothingness on its journey toward spiritual enlightenment. A curious way to say goodbye, yet celestial nonetheless, sky burials remain largely intact despite being centuries old.
Ashes to Death Beads
Death beads are a unique and fascinating funerary tradition that has existed in different cultures around the world for centuries. These mementos, crafted from the ashes of a loved one, take on various shapes and forms depending on the culture. The ashes are often mixed with other elements like clay or glass to create beautiful and intricate pieces that contain a fragrant scent as well as deep symbolism about letting go of sorrow and grief.
Tower of Silence
The tower of silence is an ancient Zoroastrian burial tradition that has been practiced by its adherents for centuries. The body is placed on a specially constructed open-air platform known as the tower and the flesh is exposed to scavengers like vultures, thus providing a hygienic and environmentally-friendly means of disposing of human remains. While some may balk at the idea of feeding corpses to birds, followers view it as a respectful and dignified ceremony that follows in line with their spiritual beliefs.
The act of leaving pieces of cloth near the body to lure the scavenging birds – then packing up after they’re gone – has become an integral part of many funeral services honoring their dead. It’s a fascinating tradition that demonstrates how cultures around the world value spirituality and connectivity with nature even in times of grief and mourning.
Display funerals are an interesting tradition that relies on the involvement of a community to significantly honor the deceased. During these types of funerals, people from a dead person’s locality come together to help create an environment for proper mourning and provide support for the bereaved family. This often involves erecting elaborate tents, catered meals, and music in honor of the person who has passed away.
Family and friends of the deceased can also send remembrances, share anecdotes about loved ones, leave flowers, read obituaries, and more as part of this display. Though a difficult process for all involved, display funerals offer comfort, solace, and closure in times of grief as it gives us a chance to join together as one collective to commemorate those who have left us before us.
The parade is a funeral tradition that has been around for many centuries. It’s a way of honoring the deceased, celebrating their life and legacy, and allowing their loved ones one last chance to bid them farewell. The procession usually involves the carrying of a casket or urn down a main street, with family accompanying it in open cars or on foot.
Friends, members of the community, and other mourners may join in to show solidarity and offer their condolences. Many set off fireworks or firecrackers at this time as an expression of joy and sadness intertwined as they bid goodbye to their departed friend or relative. The parade is certainly a unique way to commemorate a beloved life that will never be forgotten.
It’s hard to remain somber at the thought of a funeral…or is it? In Ghana, there is an unusual tradition called “dancing pallbearers” that flips the script on what we often consider to be sad and solemn occasions. During this practice, professional pallbearers in colorful garb dance with caskets in tow amid music, opening up the confines of a traditional funeral procession and ushering in a new way to celebrate life after death.
It’s no surprise to see these professionals create unforgettable spectacles for their audiences as they shimmy along with the beat of drums, brass instruments, and melody songs that honor those who have passed. Even in life’s dark moments or difficult goodbyes, dancing pallbearers give the celebration a whole new meaning.
The Famadihana – often referred to as the “turning of the bones” – is an intriguing funeral tradition still practiced by some Malagasy communities in Madagascar. This ritual is typically carried out every five to seven years and involves exhuming the remains of family members and reburying them with a new cloth after paying tribute with music, dancing, and feasting.
The Famadihana allows those mourning the deceased to honor the legacy brought by their ancestor while re-bonding with their community through celebration. Moreover, this ritual works to remove any spiritual obstructions preventing another generation from flourishing.
Funeral traditions around the world provide us with insight into how different cultures honor and pay tribute to their dead. From display funerals, parades, dancing pallbearers, and Famadihana rituals – there are many unique ways in which we can commemorate our loved ones after they have passed away. While these customs may differ from one another in some respects, what remains true is that each of them celebrates life even in moments of grief and mourning. Ultimately, funeral practices help bring comfort to those who have lost someone special by creating a space for healing through collective remembrance.