Unusual funeral rituals and traditions
We all come into this world through the same gate, but we leave it in completely different ways. Someone goes to the last journey, resting in a luxurious coffin, someone dissolves in the air along with the smoke of the funeral pyre, and someone’s dried mummy has been lying in the secret room of the ancient pyramid for thousands of years.
One of the foreign tourist portals has published a list of eight of the most unusual funeral rituals around the world. Any traveler knows that the best way to learn the culture of other nations is to compare how different communities practice certain rituals and traditions common to all of humanity. Most clearly, these differences are manifested in the way people honor their ancestors.
1. “The funeral of Sardine”, Spain
The history of a popular tradition dates back several centuries. Despite its gloomy name, it amazes with fun, dancing, a liberated carnival procession, a riot of colors.
The Feast of the Burial of Sardine completes the Spanish Carnival. A giant cardboard sardine, to the sounds of mourning music are carried on outstretched arms by several people in carnival costumes. They are accompanied by a mourning procession in masks. Among them stand out inconsolably crying “widows” (often these are mustached men). There is also a “moan” and a “cry” in the streets. In the end, the sardine is burnt, and its ashes are buried in the ground.
The image of the festivities can be seen in the eponymous painting of the great Goya. It is believed that the festival corresponds to the harvest festival, common in many European countries.
2. The Bone House, Hallstadt, Austria
In a small Gothic church in an inaccessible alpine village, more than 600 painted human skulls are stored, each of which is equipped with a sign with information about the “owner”. What can be done when the church cemetery is too small, and the law provides for the sale of the site if the relatives of the deceased did not extend the lease after 25 years.
3. “Hanging Coffins”, Sagada, Luzon Island, Philippines
A unique funerary custom has existed for two thousand years in the depths of the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The deceased are buried in logs hollowed out by them, and then carried to caves high in the mountains. In some caves there are up to several hundred peculiar coffins. A similar ritual is found in some regions of China and Indonesia. Unfortunately, some tourists who manage to get to the graves sometimes pick up the bones of local residents as souvenirs.
4. Cave graves of Lemo, Tana Toraya, Indonesia
A lot of time passes between the death of a person and the recognition of him dead among the Indonesian people of Toraia. The deceased is called “sleeping” there, they are mummified and kept in the tomb for years while preparations are underway for the final ritual ceremony. It is believed that the soul of the “sleeping” at this time is going on a journey to the land of spirits, and he himself has not died yet, but only is sick. “Officially” death occurs when the corpse of a deceased is thrown up several times, and then they are placed with their feet south. In cave graves carved in crevices of rocks, one can see dozens of doll-like figures. These figures, called tau-tau, guard the peace of the dead buried right behind them.
5. Heavenly burial, Tibet
For most ordinary people in Tibet (excluding lamas and some others), “heavenly burial” was the usual way to say goodbye to the body shell after this “empty vessel” left the immortal soul. The corpse was divided into parts and taken out to the mountains for vultures to eat. It is believed that these birds of prey are Dakini, female aspects of Buddha, analogues of angels. Dakinis raise the souls of the dead to heaven, where they expect their next reincarnation. Following the virtues of Shakyamuni, who fed his hawk in flesh to save a dove, the human body is sacrificed to birds to save their usual victims.
6. Flooded Cemetery, Camiguin, Philippines
Among the attractions of the island is an old city cemetery, which went under water along with the old capital after the volcanic eruption in 1871. Now this place is marked by a huge cross, established in 1982. A popular place among divers.
7. The Mummies of Nazca, Nazca, Peru
Despite the devastations caused by the robbers, a small number of Nazca mummies are still preserved in the Atacama Desert. Some representatives of this mysterious culture, which disappeared many centuries ago, have long “braids” fluttering in the wind, indicating a high status in life.
8. Rock Tombs, Mira, Turkey
The complex of tombs carved in the rocks looks more like a majestic castle than an ancient cemetery. The uniqueness and originality of the tombs can be explained by the fact that the people of Lycia had a custom to bury the dead in high places, as it was supposed that this would help them get to heaven. The age of the first burials is at least two thousand years.