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Sending your loved ones off in style: 5 Fascinating funeral rituals around the globe

Written by culive

A brand new funeral tradition in Ghana; the coffin dance is going viral on the internet.

The Dancing Pallbearers are led by Benjamin Aidoo, who started the group as a regular pallbearer service. He later had the idea of adding choreography to their pallbearing work. Extra fees are charged for dancing with the coffin during a funeral. The Dancing Pallbearers first rose to prominence in 2017 when they were featured in a BBC News report.


They have become a symbol warning people not to stay home during the epidemic as their videos are edited in memes to prevent people from behaviors that expose them to COVID-19 and urge them to stay indoors. Their videos were also shared globally and received a strong following in countries like Brazil, the United States, and China. The coffin dance is one example of funeral traditions, here are 5 interesting funeral rituals around the world.

1 Ghana fantasy coffins

; The dead are said to continue their living profession in the afterlife and must be buried in something that represents their job. people aspire to be buried in coffins that represent their work or something they loved in life. Families commission dedicated manufacturers to create elaborate coffins (known as “fantasy coffins”) in any number of shapes and sizes, from sneakers to boats to Coca-Cola bottles These so-called “fantasy coffins”, from a Mercedes-Benz shaped coffin for a businessman to a large fish for a fisherman or a really big Bible for someone who loved to go to church.

2 The New Orleans jazz funeral.

It is one of the prototypical images of New Orleans, Louisiana: the bustling jazzy funeral procession. Merging West African, French, and African American traditions, funerals in New Orleans strike a unique balance between joy and pain, as attendees are led by a brass band. At first, the band plays sad songs, but once the body is buried, they switch to an upbeat note. Cathartic dance is generally a part of the event, to commemorate the life of the deceased.

3 Tibetan sky burials

The ancient practice of Tibetan celestial burials sees the corpse of a deceased placed on top of a high peak, to be eaten by vultures and other birds of prey. It may sound macabre to foreign ears, but it is sustainable and has a symbolic purpose, representing the impermanence of life for followers of the Buddhist faith. The corpse is but a discarded shell; the soul has already advanced towards reincarnation. Interestingly, it is considered a good sign if the whole body is consumed, as Tibetan custom holds that even vultures, without being picky, would not eat the body of a person who did wrong.

4 Iran’s Towers of Silence

The concept of burials in heaven is not unique to Tibetan Buddhists. It is also a key Zoroastrian tradition, in which followers expose the dead to a specially designed “Tower of Silence”, also known as a dakhma. In Zoroastrian belief, death is considered evil, and contamination of pure earth with decomposing matter is considered sacrilegious. Instead, bodies are exposed to the elements and scavenging birds eat them to eat them. Zoroastrianism was born in ancient Iran some 3,500 years ago, and the Towers of Silence can still be seen dotting the country’s landscape, particularly around the historic city of Yazd. The use of these towers for funerary purposes was banned in Iran in the 1970s, although it continues to this day, albeit in decreasing numbers, in the Indian city of Mumbai, another center of Zoroastrianism.

5 Asia’s hanging coffins

Among certain ethnic groups in the Philippines, Indonesia, and China, the tradition of hanging coffins has long been practiced. In Gongxian, in southern Sichuan, hundreds of hanging coffins from the Bo people of China, believed to have died approximately 400 years ago, can be found suspended from the rocky walls, while in the Philippine mountain town of Sagada, the Igorot still practice the tradition of today; Many hanging coffins dot the cliffs of the Echo Valley. The ritual is said to protect the dead from floods and animals, and in Igorot culture, it is believed to give the dead an easier step to the afterlife.

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