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Burial traditions differ

How we know it – we show up at church dressed in black. We have a ceremony, say prayers and share memories of the de­ceased. We get in our cars and drive in a single line behind the hearse to the graveyard where we place roses on the casket and lower it into the ground.

In many homes, this is commonly the traditional way to bury our loved ones.

  • However, there are some different and interesting ways people have and still mourn their loss. We will show a couple of ways from across the world, since the stone-age to date. Ship burialThese were usually done in Viking rituals. The body along with goods like swords, armour, jewellery and possessions are placed in a boat made especially for the occasion. Sometimes they are sent out to sea, other times they are entombed. ) RunestonesRunestones were erected in the memory of the deceased. These tall stones were then carved with runes showing the deceased’s deeds. They were not always placed in burial sites, sometimes they were placed somewhere else for personal significance.) Jade burial suitsRoyal members in China were buried in ceremonial suits made of jade squares threaded together with wire to cover the entire body like a suit of armour. They were extremely expensive and took years to complete. ) Hanging coffinsHidden high up on the mountainside and at difficult to reach places the Philippines hang the coffins of the deceased. They believed the higher the coffin is, the closer you are to heaven.) Burial beadsIn Korea there is limited space for burials. They cremate the body and press the remains into jewellery-like beads. They are often colourful and kept in a bottle or urn.) Fantasy coffinsIn Ghana they have a workshop that specialises in fantasy coffins. These are a fun way to celebrate the life of the deceased. They are shaped like cars or fish or peppers, depending on something significant about the life of the person. ) Eternal reefsIn Florida they mix the ashes of the dead into a concrete material and shape it into a “reef ball”. These are lowered into the ocean where marine life will take root.) Death masksThey started as stylized carvings of a face. Later the faces of the dead were cast in wax. Some places made masks out of plaster. The masks of important people were then displayed in churches and places of importance.) TotenpassAncient cults would carry “passports of the dead”. These were tablets made of metal or stone and would have a picture of the deceased on the one side and on the other side there are instructions for navigating the afterlife.) Mayan ritualsThe Mayan people buried their people with maize in their mouths as a symbol of rebirth. Grave goods like food and statues were provided to guide them through the afterlife.

These are a few interesting ways to have a burial, but some would say they would rather stay with the normal burial or cremation.

Either way it is always better to learn and expand your knowledge about other people’s beliefs and places.

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