Crazy Funeral Rites From Around the World
The United States is not the only country that has a growing trend in unique, eccentric funerals. In fact, the U.S. can take a cue from other nations when it comes to crazy funeral rights. To help spark the creative funeral planning process, here are few crazy rites about funerals from around the world.
Turning of the Bones
The Malagasy people of Madagascar have fun with the dead: they dance with them. In a festival known in English as “The Turning of the Bones”, a family will exhume the bodies of their dead loved ones every seven years to celebrate these loved ones. It’s a chance at being with them again. Once the deceased are removed from the crypt, they are dressed in festive clothing. Then, the party begins: music, dancing, and eating are all part of the festival. At the end of the festivities, the deceased are reburied.
The Ga tribe is the master of custom built coffins. This African tribe from Ghana designs these wood coffins to represent something of importance from within the life of the deceased. It’s not unusual to see a Ga coffin that is shaped like traditional Ga sustenance: cows or fish. Modern Ga coffins spins tradition on its head with cell phone or beer bottle shaped coffins.
The funerals held in Indonesia can last for weeks. These funerals are so lavish that the families of the deceased have to save up for them for years. During this time, the dead are considered to only be sleeping. Their loved ones even still feed them symbolically. They are taken for walks in the village. They are cared for as if they are still alive. Once it’s time for the funeral, the deceased rides to the funeral on a water buffalo that is sacrificed.
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Tibetan Sky Burial
The Buddhists in Tibet practice a form of burial that has been called Sky Burial. Because of the Buddhist belief in transmigration of the soul, the body of the deceased is placed on a mountain top to decay or be eaten by scavengers. This will allow the soul to escape the body so that it can find a new home. It’s also viewed as a way of giving back to nature. Since the body of the deceased is empty and useless, it can serve a better purpose nourishing nature.
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Posing Bodies Doesn’t Seem That Bad
If you find yourself squeamish at the thought of life-like poses for the deceased that has grown in popularity recently in the U.S., then these practices may make you rethink your position. Posing your loved one in a tableau from their life doesn’t seem as awkward as taking your dead grandmother for a walk, but at the same time, any of these practices reflect the common thread of humanity: the desire to honor the dead. Whether it’s a unique coffin, exhuming bodies for a party, saving up for an extended funeral, or sky burial, the purpose behind these rituals is to honor the sanctity of human life. Other cultures just do it in ways that are different than ours. Who knows, they may even our customs are strange.
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