Fascinating Funerals: Unique Customs & Rituals Around The World

Funerals can be very sad and stressful for many people. While for others, they’re a chance to embrace death as a part of life. Or to joyfully send their loved ones off to the afterlife. Here in the U.S., our funerals tend to be fairly standard ceremonies ending in a burial or cremation, but funeral ceremonies can be different both in this country and throughout the world. Some are pretty unique, like becoming a memorial reef in the ocean or getting eaten by vultures. But they are all valid ways to make sense of and celebrate the end of a life. 


In fact, looking at funeral customs can give you a fascinating insight into the way the rest of the world views life and death. And it might even make you think about what kind of send-off you’d like. Something traditional? Or something unique?  If you do choose a non-traditional funeral, would your life insurance policy help your beneficiaries pay for it? a tombstone in a graveyard with the article title written in it

Unique Funeral Customs

  • Endocannibalism– This ritual, also known as the eating of the dead, is practiced by communities such as the Wari people of Brazil. The Wari consume the flesh of the dead in their community as a way to lessen the fear of death.
  • Sky burial– In some communities in Tibet, the bodies of the dead are cut up into many pieces and then left out for local birds to consume. Some Buddhists consider this an act of charity.
  • Memorial reef– A US-based company named Eternal Reef will take your cremated remains and incorporate them into cement to make a reef ball, making you a permanent home for local sea life.
  • Burial beads– In South Korea, you can choose to have your body compressed into little colorful beads that will be shown off in your loved ones’ homes.
  • Kitchen funeral–  The Apayao people of the Northern Philippines are known to bury family members’ coffins under the kitchen areas of their homes.
  • Totem pole funeral– In Native North American culture, the Haida people pulverize a shaman or chief’s dead body with clubs. The remains are put in a suitcase. Then they place it into a totem pole in front of the departed one’s home.silhouette of a man playing jazz with a sunset in the background
  • Jazz burial-  In New Orleans, some choose to have a funeral procession that starts with a big horn band playing sad tunes, which progresses to upbeat jazz and blues, followed by energetic dancing.
  • Turning of the bones- Famadihana, or the turning of the bones, is a death ritual performed by the Malagasy in Madagascar, in which the Malagasy take the bodies of their dead loved ones from their coffins and rewrap all of their corpses in a brand new cloth. Loved ones then dance with their corpse sacks.
  • Blindfolded funeral– In Northwestern Philippines, families will blindfold the deceased and place them next to the entrance of their home, sitting upwards. Sometimes they will even place a lit cigarette between their lips.
  • German burial plot rentals–  As in many other European cultures, some Germans don’t buy burial plots. Instead, they rent their plots for around 20 years, after which time they transfer the body to a mass grave.
  • Skull Burial– In the Pacific Island Kiribati, people lay out their dead in their homes for up to 12 days, after which they will bury them. Months after burial, the body is dug up and the skull is removed, cleaned, and displayed in their home.


Life Insurance For Your Funeral

Whether you choose cremation, burial, or to have a more nontraditional funeral, life insurance can help cover these costs! Picking a policy is a big decision. And in order to know which is best for you, you should first determine how much coverage you need. So, the best way to do this is to estimate your monthly household expenses and factor in funeral expenses. Which on average will be $10,000. 


But if you want to become part of a reef or be blasted into the sky as fireworks. Then you should know how much this will cost before you choose your policy. And if you think the cost of your chosen funeral will be a burden on your family, it’s worth looking into getting an extra final expense policy.


No one wants to think about their death, but your family needs to financial protections when the time does come. When determining which policy is best for you, you should look at multiple insurance companies. Consider using online tools to see what is available. Or work with an agent who will help you compare plans and see which is the right fit for you. To help you start shopping, below is a list of the top life insurance companies in the nation; each can give you hassle-free assistance and the most competitive rates in the nation. Always check multiple sites to make sure you have bargaining power and know the advantages of each company. Make sure a hard time isn’t made harder by a financial burden, check life insurance rates today.

About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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