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.

Before Getting Married, Discuss Finances & Life Insurance!

Congrats on your engagement! You’re probably busy planning and making arrangements for the big day, but during this fun (and stressful!) time, don’t forget that there is something very important you need to discuss before getting married and sharing your life together: finances. Before making the commitment to forever, you should be clear about what debts and assets you have; once you’ve done this, there’s one more very important thing to talk about, and that’s life insurance. We get it, it’s not the most romantic subject to talk about before tying the knot, but you definitely need to discuss how much life insurance you’ll need to ensure your family’s future financial stability. To make things easier, consider the following so you can figure out what kind of life insurance you’ll both need.

Debts You’re Bringing To The Marriage

illustration of a woman holding a large bag with a money symbol on her shoulders
Before getting married, it is important to discuss any debts, and other finances you have with your fiancé.

You’d probably agree that being open and honest with your partner is very important, right? Well, that includes being open with your soon-to-be spouse about any key financial information; in fact, roughly 42% of couples say transparency about finances is key to a healthy relationship. This is especially true when it comes to any debts that you will be bringing into the marriage, including credit card debt, student loans, or car payments. 

If you both have an understanding of what debt you’ll be taking on before getting into the marriage, you’ll be better equipped to come up with a plan to tackle that debt; you’ll also know how much life insurance coverage you’ll both need to keep you financially protected in the future. Remember, if one of you were to pass away, the other could be responsible for some of those debts, so take them into consideration when choosing your policy. You will want to make sure that in the event of your passing, you can still help cover these debts and provide enough for other expenses. 

Are You Planning On Having Children?

Do you want to have children someday? Does your partner? If the answer is yes, a lot of other questions will follow, like: Will you be buying a house one day as your family grows? Would you be able to continue taking care of your children on your own if your spouse passed away? Do you plan on helping your children with college expenses? You will need to discuss these questions and figure out how much life insurance coverage will be enough to cover any or all of the scenarios raised above. 

Evaluate Your Disability Insurance

blue and white disability sign
If your job does not cover disability in case you get injured and unable to work, you can get a disability rider with life insurance.

In the event that you or your spouse got hurt or disabled, would the disability insurance offered through your job cover your bills? Odds are it would not; in fact, more than half of working Americans could barely afford their bills past the first month of being unable to work. You will both want to be financially protected if the unexpected happens and you are no longer able to provide an income; life insurance disability riders can help you or your spouse keep paying the bills by covering any lost income. 

What Kind Of Life Insurance Policy Should You Get?

You have options when choosing a life insurance policy/policies to cover your new family. One thing to consider is whether you plan on having your own life insurance policies or a joint life insurance policy; joint life insurance policies cover both of you, and are generally less expensive than purchasing two policies. If you decide on a joint policy, you have two options: a first-to-die policy, which provides benefits to your spouse after one of you dies, and a second-to-die policy, which pays out benefits to your family after you both have passed. Be aware that after the first-to-die policy’s benefits are paid out, the policy terminates, meaning the surviving spouse would have to get additional coverage if they want to provide benefits for the rest of your family after they pass. 

Individual life insurance policies might be a better fit if you want guaranteed protection for each individual; you might also be able to get higher payout benefits when getting your own life insurance policies. The best way to determine which is the best route is to go over your finances and compare plans. You might find that a term life policy is better for your needs, while your spouse might decide on a permanent life policy. Whatever you both choose, it is important to have life insurance for the unexpected, so that neither of you is left struggling.

Talking about your finances before getting married might not seem fun when you are in love and enjoying the good times, but it is necessary, and avoiding the subject will be detrimental to your relationship in the long run. You need to know how much debt you each have and what your future plans are for taking on more debt, so you can figure out exactly how much life insurance coverage you’ll need to protect your family now and in the future. After having the talk, the next step is determining which life insurance policy will best fit your finances and needs; the best way to do this is by working with an agent who specializes in life insurance. We have provided the top life insurance companies in the nation below; each offers hassle-free assistance and the most competitive rates. 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.