For the Ga tribe, funerals are a time of mourning, but also of celebration. They believe that when their loved ones die, they move on into another life and they make sure they do so in style.
They honor their dead with brightly colored coffins that celebrate the way they lived. These coffins are designed to represent an aspect of the dead person’s life, such as a car if they were a driver, a fish if their livelihood was the sea or a sewing machine for a seamstress. They might also symbolize a vice, such as a bottle of beer or a cigarette.
Now, let’s travel to Europe. Hallstatt. It’s between a mountain and lake, so therefore has very limited burial space. To solve this problem they would allow for the remains of their dead to lie in the cemetery for 12 years only. When the time was up the bones would be exhumed and moved to a charnel, but the skull would be kept. It would be tastefully decorated with the name of the deceased, a cross and plants. It would then be displayed in a chapel. Although cremation has now been allowed in the village this custom still takes place.
So, what about being buried in the sky? We’ll have to go all the way to the...