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5 Interesting Funeral Rituals


No one wants to talk about death, though it is an eternal truth. Shraddh is around the corner, most of the Indians know about Shraadh. This is a 15 day period specifically dedicated to ancestors. During this period a ceremony (puja) is performed for ancestors, their favorite food is cooked and distributed to the priests (Brahmins). This rite is generally performed by the male member of the family.

Around the globe, many practices and rituals talk for the dead soul. In Japanese funeral, a  bone-picking ceremony is conducted. In this relatives select pieces of bone, of their choice, from the ashes and place them in an urn.

We bring to you a few strange traditions around death, followed by different communities across the globe.

a)The Eskimo Funerary Ritual– This practice is rarely followed by today’s Eskimos. Under Eskimo Funerary Ritual the elderly or people facing old age or death were set on a floating iceberg. They believe in an afterlife for the dead. This tradition was a way to give them a dignified goodbye. This practice spares them from the disgrace of Alzheimer, loss of bodily function etc. This gives old people a right to die before decaying further.

Though now this tradition is not followed widely, in certain Eskimo groups elderly members are also killed. Without being judgmental, we have to understand Eskimos live in one of the harshest climatic conditions. Everyone has to fend for themselves. So any resource who cannot contribute is considered a liability.

b) Feed the dead with wine in Rome– Ancient Roman culture has often intrigued the people across the world. This is one culture which you will surely admire.

They believe in taking good care of the dead by feeding them. At many places terracotta pipes emerge from the grave, the relative of the deceased can pour milk, wine, honey, and other food items through them.

In ancient times family used to have a picnic near the grave, this tradition was probably followed to make youngsters connect with the deceased family members or this might be a gesture to convey that you are still being missed.

c) Burial beads: In South Korea due to the land shortage, a law was passed in 2000 which required anyone burying a loved one, has to remove the grave after 60 years. Following the law, many people opted for cremation, but then few do not like the idea of cremating the loved ones.

Some companies in Korea have come up with an idea to compress the remains into beads, these are turquoise, pink or black in color. These beads not necessarily need to be weaved in a necklace but can be easily put in a vase and grace a space in dining room. The surviving members feel connected to the deceased.

d) Buried in a fantasy coffin– Now Ghana is the place, where death is celebrated in true style. The coffin represents the profession, which the deceased followed.

So a fisherman might have a fish-shaped coffin, the pilot may go for a plane shape and yes, for businessman we have Mercedes shaped coffin.

These so-called “fantasy coffins” is a serious business in Ghana.

e) Finger cutting when someone dies in Indonesia-

This is one gruesome tradition followed by Dani tribe in Indonesia. On the death of a family member, women from this tribe have to suffer both physical pain and emotional grief. The women are required to cut off a part of their fingers. This is supposedly done to ‘satisfy ancestral ghosts.’

Though thankfully this custom has been stopped now.


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