What Are the Most Unusual Funerals and Burial Methods in the World?
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This article explains traditional burial methods worldwide and some of the more unusual funeral and burial ways that have recently attracted attention in Italy.
What are the traditional burial methods in the world?
Traditional burial methods vary by country, but we can generally talk about two types: cremation and burial in the ground.
In Japan, more than 99 percent of people choose cremation. Still, the culture of ground burial remains strong in Europe, where Italy is located, thanks to its long history and equally long-standing tradition. The reason for this choice deeply concerns the Christian view of life and death.
In Christianity, death is not seen as the end of things but as the final judgment of Jesus Christ, who decides whether we go to heaven or hell. This view leads
to a belief: if a person is cremated, he can't participate in the final judgment.
Today, some Christian sects proceed with cremation. In fact, in 2016, the day before the >"Day of Souls", an important Catholic holiday, the Vatican issued final guidelines on cremation. The Church strongly recommends maintaining the pious custom of a traditional burial but does not prohibit cremation unless it is chosen for reasons contrary to Christian teaching.
Unusual funerals and burial methods in the world
Classical funeral methods involve the burial of remains or ashes inside a grave; however, some unusual funeral or burial methods in the world go far beyond the classical imagination. Here are some of the impressive funeral and burial practices in the world.
United States of America
It is estimated that more than 70 percent of people in the United States are of the Christian faith. According to a report by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the percentage of people cremated has surpassed the number of people buried since 2016. In essence, more and more people have chosen the cremated way in
the United States during the past few years because of its ease and convenience.
As cremation burial has been repealed in the United States, the variety of other burial methods increased. In the green funeral, scattering ashes in the ocean or rivers, as well as instead in the "home funeral," the body is cleaned and prepared for a home burial; these are a couple of the most unusual burial techniques in the world and are services that are becoming increasingly popular.
In the West, ground burial is expected, given the Christian view of life and death; assuming this, what are the most common burial methods in
Burial was also common in China originally. It is due to the large percentage of people in China who follow and practice Confucianism and the Confucian concept of filial piety toward one's parents; this is coupled with the idea that the soul is divided into two parts after death: heaven and earth.
Today, because of the pro-cremation choices promoted by the Chinese government, more and more in China choose to be cremated at death. Chinese funerals are remarkably different from those in Japan and are often conducted lavishly, with firecrackers, crying and shouting. Although strict dress codes are absent in China compared to Japan, wearing white clothing at funerals is still common. Although they are part of the same continent, clothing also varies when comparing Japan and China.
What are Africa's most common funeral and burial methods? The practices behind funerals and burials vary from country to country in the African territory.
In Ghana, a nation located in the western part of the African continent, funerals are impressive and majestic, with participants dancing together and playing music using special instruments.
Ghana is also famous for the so-called
"Coffin Dance", a remarkably upbeat funeral ceremony that has become the subject of a trending video on YouTube and TikTok. Dancers dance with coffins carried as participants join in the practice. In Ghana, death is regarded as a new beginning, so everyone gathers to celebrate the deceased's departure for a new life. In reality, there is not much culture behind the coffin dance. Still, it is impossible to deny how it has become a mainly celebrated funeral ritual over the past few years. It costs about $2,000 for an ordinary deceased person, but for a particular person, such as the village chief
, it would cost around $5,000 (about €4500).
You are probably curious about Latin America's popular funeral and burial methods. What are these methods in Mexico, a country known for its unique view of life and death?
In Mexico, there is a festival dating back to the Aztec period called the Day of the Dead, which is held on 1 and 2 November each year. The Mexican view of life and death is also very different from the Italian one, and the idea that death is an extension of life and a part of it is deeply rooted.
That is why funerals in Mexico, like in Ghana, are cheerful. Mariachi music is often played at funerals, and during the celebration, it is common for people to enjoy talking about the deceased in a bar or café where both coffee and food are served. There are no detailed rules on what participants should wear to the service as the funeral has a cheerful atmosphere, so it is not uncommon to see people wearing ordinary clothes. In Mexico, the feeling of participation in the funeral is prioritised over the clothing.
Unusual funerals and burials in Italy
Let's look at some of the innovations in terms of burial methods among those practised in Italy.
Space burial, as the name suggests, is a particularly unusual burial method in which the remains and ashes of the deceased are placed in a capsule and then scattered into space.
The cost of a space burial varies depending on the company's service, the scale of the operation, and the project you have chosen. The basic plan, in which the remains are scattered as the rocket leaves the atmosphere, has a cost of 3500 euros. In contrast, a project involving the lunar landing of a capsule containing the remains and ashes is priced at around 20,000 euros.
Balloon funerals are famous among those who want to scatter their remains and ashes in the sky but cannot afford a space burial that is too expensive. A hot air balloon funeral is the best method of scattering ashes or remains by placing them inside a giant balloon, taking them into the stratosphere and letting them burst naturally. The cost of a balloon funeral is less than that of a space funeral and can start from about 2,000 euros. It is the perfect choice for those seeking an unusual burial method.
The memorial diamond is also called "the most beautiful funeral in the world". It is regarded as a "minimalist funeral" by those who wish to have closed graves or abandoned graves. The memory diamond is a very romantic and unusual burial method through which carbon is extracted from the bones, ashes or even hair of a deceased person or pet to make a diamond. The cost of a memory diamond starts at £ 1400 and can be set or engraved using lasers if desired. A memory diamond's greatest asset is making you feel forever close to your deceased loved one or pet.
Funeral and burial methods vary significantly worldwide, depending on religion, history, life view, or death view. Funeral and burial methods in Italy have also changed over the years.
In recent years, abetted by declining birth rates, an aging population, and the ever-present nuclear family, graves have been closed and have become less popular for ordinary people; hence unusual burial methods such as space burial, burial by balloon, or the memory diamond have attracted much attention.