Egyptian Funerary Practices
Ancient Egyptian civilization was based on religion. Their belief in the rebirth after death became their driving force behind their funeral practices. Death was simply a temporary interruption, rather than an end to life, and that eternal life could be ensured by means of worship to the gods, preservation of the physical form thru mummification, substantial ceremonies and detailed burial policies and procedures. Even though many today have varying views of an afterlife, many of the funerary practices that originated in Egypt can be seen in present day funeral services.
The Egyptians believed that the human soul used the first night after death to travel into the afterlife. The body, which the Egyptians believed was an essential element to the afterlife, had to be mummified to preserve it for eternity. Today, we may not be preserving the body for an afterlife, but we do preserve the body for the family and friends to have the one last moment with that person. We are on call 24 hours a day to ensure that they are taken care of as quickly as possible and that as much can be done as possible to preserve the body. Just as we do today, they took great care of their dead to ensure the Ba, or the soul of the individual had a place to be able to return to.
The mummification process took 72 days to perform properly. The brain is removed, evisceration of the internal organs through an abdominal incision, the body soaked in a natron solution for 20 days followed by a 20 day tanning or drying period. The last step was to wrap the body with bandages, some 1200 yards of material used. This process was extremely important to Egyptians. There were strict rules surrounding the Necropolis, or the room or temple in which the preparation took place. The priest oversaw the process, and along with his embalming team, each of these steps was done properly and with great care. Today, we obviously do not invest the time that the Egyptians...
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