Funeral Customs

Topics: Funeral, Burial, Funeral home Pages: 7 (2960 words) Published: May 4, 2010
Funeral custom world wide

Death: the act of dying; the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism. Death is a very painful and emotional time, yet one that may be filled with hope and mercy and is base off of the world's religious traditions and of philosophical enquiry. Belief in some kind of afterlife or rebirth has been a central aspect of most, if not all, religious traditions and as a result of that over time there has been different type of funeral customs developed in the world. The trace of funeral service is a history of mankind. Funeral customs are as old as evolution itself. Funeral customs are rituals surrounding the death of a human being and the subsequent disposition of the corpse. Such rites may serve to mark the passage of a person from life into death, to secure the welfare of the dead, to comfort the living, and to protect the living from the dead. Disposal of the body may be by burial , by conservation or by cremation , by exposure or by other methods. Funeral ceremonies have certain common features: for example, the laying out of the corpse; the watching of the dead, of which the wake is a standard example; and the period of mourning with the accompanying ceremonies. ( “Every culture and civilization attends to the proper care of their dead. Every culture and civilization ever studied has three things in common relating to death and the disposition of the dead. Some type of funeral rites, rituals, and ceremonies or a sacred place for the dead and memorialization of the dead Researchers have found burial grounds of Neanderthal man dating to 60,000 BC with animal antlers on the body and flower fragments next to the corpse indicating some type of ritual and gifts of remembrance”. (

Funeral customs were diverse in many cultures. Some culture treated the male funerals different from the female funerals. The Cochieans buried their women, but suspended their men from trees. The Gonds buried their women but cremated their men. The Bongas buried their men with their faces to the North and their women with their faces to the South. ( Body burial or direct burial simply means placing a body in the ground after death, although it also applies to storing the whole body aboveground in a mausoleum, vault, or other type of crypt. ( also found that in the medieval time the king would be buried without a heart. (Puckle 120) The Gonds are among the largest tribal groups in South Asia and perhaps the world. The term Gond refers to tribal peoples who live all over India's Deccan Peninsula. Most describe themselves as Gonds (hill people) or as Koi or Koitur. ( Funeral custom hasn’t really changed over time there are still similar or same customs still used today. They often had Memorials which allow friends, relatives and acquaintances to express their feelings and to share their memories. Many bereaved people find them helpful and are pleased to have provided a ceremony their loved ones would have wanted. ( Native American burial customs have varied widely, not only geographically, but also through time, having been shaped by differing environments, social structure, and spiritual beliefs. Prehistoric civilizations evolved methods of caring for the dead that reflected either the seasonal movements of nomadic societies or the life ways of settled communities organized around fixed locations. As they evolved, burial practices included various forms of encasement, sub-surface interment, cremation, and exposure. Custom usually dictated some type of purification ritual at the time of burial. Certain ceremonies called for secondary interments following incineration or exposure of the body, and in such cases, the rites might extend...

Cited: 15. Puckle, Bertram. Funeral Customs. 1926. 120.
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