As the death care industry continues to evolve here in the U.S. some are surprised by the disposition options that are becoming available. For so long, we’ve primarily had traditional burial and traditional cremation, it’s easy to forget how different death rituals are around the world.
People have had some pretty bizarre funeral requests in the U.S., but in other countries death rituals we’d consider strange are sometimes the norm. If you thought natural organic reduction was an out there idea, you won’t believe what happens to the deceased in other cultures.
Devoured by Birds for Different Reasons
As strange as it may sound, numerous cultures believe the best form of disposition is to leave the deceased out in the open for birds to eat. For the Zorostraians, it’s a matter of cleanliness. They believe a dead body taints everything it touches and can harm the living, so the deceased are put on a platform called the “Tower of Silence” so that vultures can devour the body.
Tibetan Buddhists also leave people out in the open hillsides to be eaten by birds, but they do so for different reasons. They believe it’s an act of charity to give the body up for the sustenance of other living creatures since the body is an empty vessel after death.
Actually Dancing on Someone’s Grave . . . With Them
In the States we have the phrase “dancing on someone’s grave” meaning that you’re so happy someone is dead you dance on their grave. It’s not a concept they understand in Madagascar. There the people have a burial ritual called Famadihana. It entails taking the body out of the burial plot, rewrapping it and dancing with the body to music before returning it to the grave. The ritual serves two purposes: to speed the soul along to the afterlife and accelerate decomposition.
Eating the Deceased to Not Fear Death
If someone thinks making a keepsake with cremains is creepy, then they won’t want to attend a funeral in the rainforests of Brazil. There the Yanomami people practice something called endocannibalism – eating the dead. Endocannibalism is believed to dispel fear of death.
Tree Burials That Are Picked in Advance
In the U.S. many people choose cremation because they like the idea of becoming a tree after death. But near Manila in the Philippines people actually use trees as burial spaces. Members of the Caviteño people will pick their burial tree while alive.
Open-Air Decomposition to Collect Bones and Body Fluids
Water cremation is a process that accelerates decomposition by liquefying body tissue. It’s a process that requires technologically advanced equipment. In Australia the Aborigines do something similar in a completely natural way. The body of the deceased is placed on a platform and covered by vegetation. Over the course of months, the body decomposes, releasing fluids and leaving behind the bones. The bones would be collected and given to the family. Sometimes the fluids would also be collected so that young male descendents could rub it on their skin.
We can’t help you with the death rituals above, but Direct Cremate can help you arrange low-cost direct cremation. Give us a call or text at any time for more information.