Bereavement: Not many of us dare think about it but death is destined to every human being in this world. No one can escape from death. Therefore arranging funerals is also unavoidable. Funerals are a key cultural and practical element of most countries. The different people of these culture use different funeral ceremonies. Here just a few common funeral services across the globe.
In New Orleans they have a unique funeral service called the “Jazz Funeral” which follows old traditions of West Africa. They believe that the funeral service should be filled with the waking of the body and later followed by a church service and finally they walk to the cemetery. The music, singing and dancing go along with the procession to the cemetery. While walking to the cemetery the jazz musicians play spiritual songs. This helps to make the burial process a sacred experience. After laying the body in the ground the band plays upbeat jazz music to celebrate the deceased life. It becomes more joyous as the day progresses.
The Jews on the other hand, follow a different funeral service. They will immediately call the spiritual leader who is called as a Rabbi. He plans the funeral arrangements for the family. The deceased body is washed and dressed in white cloth before he is laid in a plain, pine box. Embalming is not followed among Jews. The burial is very quick after death. They honor the dead, guarding the body until and after burial and the recitation of psalms is read. During the funeral ceremony, prayers are read, followed by a eulogy and a memorial prayer. The Rabbi then closes coffin, it is lowered into the ground, and the family members throw dirt onto the coffin.
As a contract the elders in Cherokee culture (Native Americans) wash the dead cleanse away all earthly impurities. The body is scented with oil and lavender. According to their custom the body is wrapped with white cotton. It is then placed in a cedar coffin. An eagle feather is placed a top the deceased’s chest and the coffin closed. In Cherokee tradition the person is buried in the ground where they died – not so practical these days. And they have 7 days of mourning when no-one close is allowed to be angry.
In traditional Mongolian death ceremonies the deceased is dismembered by a Rogyapa, or body breaker. The body is left outside, well away from nearby occupied dwellings to be consumed by nature. To any westerners, this “funeral” will seem inhuman. Well, thankfully the Chinese outlawed this practice after taking control of Mongolia in the 1950′s. However to Buddhist thinking, it makes perfect sense as they regard the deceased body as worthless after their spirit has left. It is better providing nourishment to the local birds and animals. And they say practically that in remote places it is too hard to dig a grave in rock and very little precious fuel for a cremation!
So these are just a few examples of cultural attitudes to funeral ceremonies and burial.
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