For most of us, the most common funeral practices involve burial or cremation. However, the world is quite diverse and so are its methods of treating the departed. It’s just that these customs and rituals are followed by a limited number of people. As such, we are not aware of it. Here’s a quick look at some of the weirdest funeral practices from around the world.
Endocannibalism: Eating the dead – Some tribes in the past used to eat their dead. It includes Mayoruna tribe and Amahuaca Indians in Peru and Brazil. The Ya̧nomamö tribe from the Amazon rainforest were also said to have followed Endocannibalism in the past. Eating the dead not only sounds bizarre, but can also lead to severe infectious diseases.
Converted into gems – There’s a practice in South Korea, where mortal remains of a dead individual is converted into gem-like beads. These are converted in various colors and displayed inside the home.
Sky burial – There is a practice in Buddhism that the dead body is offered to the birds. The rationale is that humans should follow the same laws of nature as is applicable for other animals on the planet. Offering the dead body to feed the birds is also considered as an act of compassion. While this practice is closest to nature, it may not be acceptable to everyone’s sensibilities.
Tinguian funeral – This is practiced in specific communities in Philippines. The dead body is dressed in fine clothing and is made to sit on a chair for several weeks. Sometimes, people also light up a cigarette and place it on their lips. This practice is believed to help the departed in their afterlife.
Tree burial – This is a relatively new concept wherein the dead body is placed inside a biodegradable enclosure. Along with it, the seed of a tree is also placed inside. This practice aims to make burials as environment-friendly as possible. It also gives a sense of peace to loved ones, as the dead will continue to live in the form of a tree.
Tower of Silence – As per Zoroastrian beliefs, the dead body is fed to the vultures and other birds. A special Tower of Silence, an elevated structure, is created for this purpose. The rationale is to avoid contact with natural elements such as water, earth and fire, all of which are treated as sacred in Zoroastrian religion.
Immersion in rivers – In many communities, especially those living near rivers, the dead body is floated in the waters using small wooden rafts. The belief is that the dead body will be finally united with the elements from where it originally came from.