Cultural Funeral Practices Essay

1145 words - 5 pages

Globally, people celebrate or mourn the passing of loved ones in different ways. Because these traditions are engrained in cultural practices, some may not understand the reasons for death rites of passage. However, monetary challenges in reproducing these traditions can cause a change in tradition. This report addresses the different funeral traditions and offers a solution in the event of financial challenges.
Throughout history our primordial ancestors have believed in the after life. Such beliefs entail processes like burials and ceremonies, which some believed were used to be used in the afterlife or to be recovered in a later reincarnation. As Vicki Lensing cites ...view middle of the document...

Sometimes, death rituals are not always the choice of the dead . Although it is not accurate to say that a person’s culture dictates deathly circumstances, culture serves as a guide for the expectations involving death.
African Americans
Considering the African Americans, the mourning and celebration of death historically involved diverse appreciations of life. However, because the Diaspora led to a division of religious and spiritual beliefs, most African Americans have adapted Christian ways of approaching death. In 2006, as Collins and Doolittle cite Barrett, Kalish, and Reynolds:
Previous research has noted that many African Americans tend to be accepting of death. Thus, death. . . is seen as a transition to the next life. The rituals surrounding the death of a loved one support the individual’s need to demonstrate the worth of the individual and to participate in a “celebration of the life the deceased.”

Air Sacrifices
Ancient eastern traditions of Mongolia and Tibet believe that the bodies of people are just the shell for the ghost or spirit to dwell. They recognize that during death, the body no longer is a vessel for the spirit. This ceremony involves an entourage of family members according to social status and a rogyapa, a body breaker. The rogyapa’s duty involves traveling to open land, dismembering the body, and offering it to nearby aerial and ground predators. These practices have seemingly followed the Vajrayana Buddhist religious traditions of Jhator, an act of giving back to the birds. According to their belief, this symbolizes the liberation of the spirit from the body. Additionally, these regions lack fuel and are rich in mountainous rock. Therefore, it can be extremely difficult and time consuming to prepare a burial or a cremation.
Fire Burial
In Bali, death is an eventful affair where the body is washed and purified, then sat out with food and lanterns surrounding it. People render food offerings to feed the spirit and the lanterns symbolize the spirit leaving the body. Afterward the body is set ablaze and after the ceremony is complete, the bones are relocated to the bones of the local villagers. When enough bones have been assembled, the village recovers the bones to create a float and organize a massive feast in celebration of the dead.
Traditional Christian Burial
A traditional Christian burial in the United States involves an embalming process that preserves the body with a formaldehyde solution. These practices involve cosmetically
enhancing the face with makeup and fillers to allow the effect of a sleep-like state for...

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