For most of us, death is a time of sorrow and loss. We are accustomed to a religious ceremony followed by a visit to a cemetery where we lay a rose on our loved one’s casket, and attend a luncheon to share memories with family and friends.
Would you want your remains exhumed every seven years so you could be part of a ceremony to re-wrap your bones and give thanks for the blessings you have provided from the spirit world?! What if your remains were cremated and pressed into beads for your friends and family to have on display? Better yet, what if you your remains were left at the top of beautiful mountains for vultures to devour? As unbelievable as it sounds, these are just some of the most bizarre burial traditions this world has to offer. Take a look at these 5 rituals that will have you wondering if you could hear anything else more shocking than this.
Mummified for Protection from Evil Spirits…
For a few weeks, Tinguian Filipinos keep your body dressed in fine garments and accessories as if you never died. They treat the dead as if they were still alive because it is their belief that if the dead remain home after their passing, they will help keep evil spirits from entering the household.
Ashes to Ashes, and Dust to… Beads?
South Korea passed a law that because of the shortage of land, anyone buried after 2000 would have to be dug up by relatives 60 years later and cremated. Therefore, a company in South Korea has provided an alternative. Relatives of the deceased can have their family members’ remains turned into colored beads that can be displayed in glass and ceramic containers.
Sky Burials… Sounds Peaceful and Beautiful.
Surprisingly, this ritual is far from peaceful and beautiful! Buddhist’s believe the body is nothing more than an empty vessel once the soul has dies. Therefore, the remains are taken to the tops of mountains and left for vultures to consume. Yes, vultures. End of story. Moving on…
Make Bali Your Final Destination- David Bowie Wanted to!
According to the New York Times, “David Bowie said in the will that he wanted his body shipped to Bali and cremated there ‘in accordance with the Buddhist rituals of Bali.’ In Bali, the body of the deceased is placed in a Wadah (paper machete constructed parade piece) and is taken to a cremation site in a parade-like fashion. This is called a Ngaben. It is a time to help the dead move on from their previous life into their reincarnated life. A priest oversees the burning of the body and 12 days after the cremation, the ashes are scattered into the sea in a final act of purification.
How About ‘Turning the Bones’ in Madagascar?
Yes, those are linens full of bones that have been exhumed from their burial sites. Every 2-7 years, every family holds a massive celebration at their ancestral crypt where the remains of the dead are exhumed, wrapped in silk, sprayed with perfume, and brought out to celebrate something like a family reunion. In Madagascar, this is called famadihana and is considered an act of love.
These different burial rituals may sound weird or crazy to you, but ever since the first death of man, the way we handle our dead has always been different. What matters the most, however, is that we ultimately show our love and respect for those that pass in life. Whether you’re exhuming your loved one’s remains every five years or simply clearing off dead leaves atop of the grave, give your passed loved one the respect they deserve.