Death is a natural progression of life, one which many people view in different lights – especially around the world. In some places, it is seen as a time for mourning and quiet reflection for the deceased, in others, it is a time to celebrate the life the deceased had lived.
Regardless, many countries have their own unique traditions when it comes to honouring the dead. From elaborate coffins to becoming one with nature, we’ve listed four examples of different funeral traditions from around the world.
Beads of Ash
In South Korea, there are certain laws surrounding burials, one of which stipulates that bodies must be removed after 60 years. As such, it is much more common for people to be cremated. However, rather than leaving their loved one’s ashes in traditional urns or scattering them, many people choose to instead have these ashes turned into beads.
These decorative death beads predominantly come in black or turquoise and have a slight shine to them. They are then displayed in the home as a beautiful and proud way to commemorate a family member and keep them close by – they can even be passed down as sentimental family heirlooms.
Rather than fitting in with the crowd, some people prefer to go out in style, as is the case in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Here, it has become an increasingly popular custom for people to be laid to rest in eccentric fantasy coffins, or ‘Abebu adekai’ as they are locally referred to – which literally translates to ‘receptacles of proverbs’.
These coffins are designed to reflect the life of their occupier, typically focusing on their ambition, character and occupation. The designs are carefully and respectfully thought out, and have varied from aeroplanes and cameras, to pineapples and lions!
Dancing with the Dead
As for the Malagasy people of Madagascar, they have a rather intimate burial ritual called ‘Famadihana’, which means ‘turning of the bones’. Performed every five to seven years, this involves taking the bodies of their loved ones from their crypts and rewrapping them in fresh burial cloth, as well as spraying them with perfume, then dancing with them while lively music plays.
Not only do they see this as a chance to honour and share stories with deceased loved ones and ask for their blessings, but the ritual is also meant to speed up decomposition, thus helping to push the spirits of the dead closer to the afterlife.
In the current social climate that encourages eco-friendly practices, we have seen a rise in green burials and funeral practices in Western culture. In the US, for example, it is possible to have your ashes turned into concrete reef balls as a way to support and maintain marine environments.
On the other side of the pond, lots of people in the UK are opting to have a woodland burial, whereby you are buried in an eco-friendly coffin in an area that is or will become a natural woodland. Green funerals can involve religious or secular ceremonies, or no ceremony at all.
If you’re planning a funeral service for your loved one, get in touch with us here at Stockman & Loram. Whether you’re looking to have a chapel service, celebration of life or a green burial, we offer a number of services that can cater to your requirements.