Funeral strippers and cigarettes on the lips: unusual death customs observed around the world


Different cultures have different ways of marking the death of someone they love.

There isn’t just one way to say goodbye.

Here in the UK we observe the passage of a person during a funeral or burial. In both cases, they are usually solemn events that celebrate the life of a person.

These customs give grieving loved ones a chance to say goodbye and perhaps even grow through their loss.

However, not all cultures mark death this way. Some cultures have customs that many Britons may find “bizarre”.

Although these traditions seem unusual, they are very important in some places. The Mirror examined some of the world’s most unusual death customs, including burials in the sky and in water.

Ashes in rosaries – South Korea

Death pearls are a relatively new type of cremation art in South Korea (stock image)

The “pearls of death” aren’t exactly a fashion trend, they are a way of honoring the dead in South Korea.

The idea of ​​death pearls has gained popularity since a 2000 law that required anyone burying their dead after 2000 to remove the grave 60 years after burial.

This is because South Korea is simply running out of burial space.

Cultural changes have resulted in an increase in the cremation rate, and pearls are considered healthier than frightening.

Heavenly burial – Tibet

This Tibetan funeral practice involves placing the deceased on top of a mountain to decompose while being exposed “to the elements” or eaten by scavenging animals.

It is a specific type of excarnation practiced in Chinese provinces and the autonomous regions of Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, Inner Mongolia and Mongolia.

The villagers will bring the body to the Heavenly Burial Site on horseback or by car, and the Master of the Heavenly Burial Ceremony will then perform rituals all over the body.

After the birds have passed over the site, the master cuts the body into small pieces for the feast, and if the vultures consume the whole body, this is considered a good sign.

Aquatic burial – Scandinavia

Known from old Norse poetry and Icelandic sagas, a ship burial involves the deceased being dropped off in a boat and given funeral offerings.

After that, piles of stones and earth would be deposited on the remains to create a tumulus (cemetery).

The idea of ​​a “Viking burial” is desired by many today, but as seen in a Scattering Ashes Q&A, it certainly won’t be done in the traditional Norse way.

You can even see an intact ship burial at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, with a huge array of Anglo-Saxon artifacts.

A cigarette on your lips – Philippines

The Tinguians of the Philippines dress the deceased in his finest outfit and seat the body on the chair.

The body will then stay there for several weeks, often with a lighted cigarette placed between the lips.

The corpses are also buried sitting down and the women have their hands tied at their feet to prevent “ghosts from wandering”.

Climbing – Sagada, Philippines

Hundreds of wooden coffins hang from cliffs and caves
Hundreds of wooden coffins hang from cliffs and caves

The Igorot tribe of the northern mountain province of the Philippines practice the tradition of burying their dead in hanging coffins.

Although this only happens every few years or so, the coffins are either attached or nailed to the cliff walls, and are only about a yard long, as the corpse is buried in a fetal position.

Before being taken for burial, he is again wrapped in a blanket and tied with rattan leaves as a small group of men poke holes in the side of the cliff to hammer the coffin support.

The group then climbs up the side of the cliff and places the corpse in a hollowed-out wooden coffin.

Funeral strippers – China

Chinese funeral directors would attract more attendees
Chinese funeral directors would attract more attendees

Funeral strippers are actually a thing in China.

As the BBC reports, strippers are used to increase funeral attendance, as large crowds are seen as a mark of honor for the deceased.

Not everything is to everyone’s taste, of course, as a Global Times report promising to crack down on funeral strippers shows.

Catching up with the dead – Madagascar

Famadihana is the “day of the dead” for Madagascar, it takes place every five to seven years.

This is where families go to unearth their ancestors by exhuming them and wrapping them in cool shrouds.

They perfume the bodies, dance with them, and even share stories with the corpses for general catch-up.


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