There are a number of varied cremation practices around the world. Cremation services are frequently tied to religion but can also be based purely on geography.
In the Western world we consider our funeral services (whether involving burial or cremation) to be standard, but there are a great many rituals that have been practised for much longer by distinct groups around the world.
Cremation services are common everywhere, but the differences centre around the treatment of the deceased’s remains – both before and after cremation.
To shine a bit more light on some global and historical traditions, we’ve researched 5 interesting cremation practices from around the world.
As a predominantly Buddhist country, cremation services play a big part in the after-death ritual for much of the population. Following the death, the body will be kept at home for three days while it is washed, dressed and prayed over by monks. At the end of the three days, the body will be cremated, with the ashes passed on to monks at a nearby temple to assist the soul’s transition through reincarnation.
As a country with a plurality of religions, practices at funeral services are varied in Sweden. Whilst earth burials are becoming increasingly common, traditionally cremation was the most popular option for after death. In many European countries it is common to proceed to the funeral within a few days of death. However in Sweden it is common to wait between one and three weeks to have the funeral after a death – even more interestingly, this custom has been attributed to Swedes’ fear of death.
It has been said that the Yanomamo tribes of Brazil (and Venezuela) practised Endocannibalism as part of their ritual funeral services. They believed that by eating the flesh of the dead they could assume the good qualities of that person. They would consume the body by mixing powdered bone with water following the cremation.
Whilst this could not be described as a common cremation practice in the United States, it’s an interesting one nonetheless. There are now a number of companies that will take the ashes of deceased loved ones (or even pets), put them in a diamond press and make a crystal from the remains that can be set into a ring or a pendant. Despite being highly untraditional, these services are seeing a rapid increase in popularity.
The River Ganges is sacred to Hindus in India. They believe it is personified as the goddess Ganga and bathe in the waters to absolve them of their sins. The Ganges also plays a crucial part in their funeral service ritual. Following ceremonial cremations, the ashes of the deceased are released into the water of the Ganges to facilitate their passage from life through to rebirth.
So there you have it. Cremation itself is a common practice internationally, but the ways in which it’s practised and the treatment of the remains of the deceased vary dramatically. Most important is that these different