September 3, 2023

Facts About Funerals

Funerals form part of nearly everyone’s life in this world. Therefore, funerals remain ingrained in human culture. Specific practices during funerals stem from centuries of traditional customs to honor those who have passed away.

While most practical aspects of a funeral are widely known, certain facts surrounding the global practice often go unnoticed. We discuss some of these facts below:

Drive-Through Funerals

Drive-through funeral homes can be found in some parts of the U.S., including California and Louisiana. As the name suggests, families can pay their respects from the comfort of their vehicles as they drive up to a designated viewing area. This concept was introduced to cater to those with limited mobility. It was also useful for people who didn’t want to leave their cars during stormy weather.

Hanging Coffins

In the Philippines, Sagada in particular, the indigenous Igorots use hanging coffins. This unique burial method involves securing coffins to the sides of cliffs and rock formations. The Igorots believe the hanging coffin tradition brings the departed closer to heaven. It also removes the deceased from their earthly worries.

Jazz Funerals

New Orleans is the home of jazz. It just so happens that Louisiana is also where you’ll find lively jazz funerals. These “funeral concerts” aim to combine the solemn with joy as a large brass band leads the procession to the burial site. The band typically plays sad or religious songs on the way to the cemetery. It then switches to upbeat music on the way back as a religious way of expressing joy even in the midst of death. Jazz funerals provide a unique way to say goodbye to a loved one while reflecting the city’s heritage.

Professional Mourners

Some cultures hire professional mourners to help them express their grief and sadness. Once observed in ancient Egypt, this tradition is still followed in some Asian countries today.

Professional mourners wail during funerals to demonstrate the significant loss experienced by the deceased’s family. They also provide emotional support to family and friends.

Sky Burials

Tibetan Buddhists often perform sky burials when their loved ones pass away. In this ritual, the deceased’s body is carried to a mountaintop and left to the elements. The belief is that this act liberates the soul from the physical body. The monks also believe it allows for a more natural return to the cycle of life and death. The concept of a sky burial may be startling, but it is considered a sacred and eco-friendly practice.

Memorial Diamonds

Some companies offer the service of transforming the deceased’s ashes into diamonds. These jewels, known as memorial diamonds, are created in a lab and can take several months. However, the resulting diamonds serve as a lasting keepsake for the bereaved.

Fantasy Coffins

In Ghana, some communities celebrate the life of the departing with fantasy coffins. These coffins, handmade by locals, take the form of everyday objects. These objects represent the deceased’s profession or status and even aspirations that were never fulfilled. For instance, a fisherman may be given a fish-shaped coffin, while a teacher’s coffin may come in the shape of a book. On the other hand, those who have never traveled may be given an airplane-shaped coffin.

Pet Funeral Rituals

Grieving for pets that have passed away is an accepted practice worldwide. Pet owners often hold funeral ceremonies for their beloved pets or obtain burial services designed specifically for pets. These ceremonies provide comfort and closure while acknowledging the deep connection between humans and animals.

Day of the Dead

Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrates the brief return of departed souls back to Earth. Families create altars adorned with marigolds, candles, and their dearly departeds’ favorite foods and drinks. During this time, it is believed that spirits can enjoy the essence of their favorite things before returning to the afterlife.

The Bottom Line

These diverse rituals provide families and friends with comfort during their time of grief. For more information, contact Wyuka Cemetery at (402) 474-3600.


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