Strange funeral customs from around the world
December 3, 2008 1:36 PM Subscribe
posted by greenie2600 (32 comments total)
18 users marked this as a favorite
Funerary rites differ widely across cultural time and space, and customs that seem normal to their practitioners can seem bizarre and macabre to outsiders. Certain Zoroastrian sects—such as the Parsis of India—famously place their dead
, or "towers of silence
", to be devoured by vultures. In recent years, the decimation of India's vulture population due to diclofenac poisoning (previously)
, and the construction of modern high-rise buildings which provide an unintended view of the process, make the future of this custom uncertain
. (If you're feeling morbid, you can get a vulture's-eye view from this video
.) The Tibetans sometimes practice a similar custom known as "sky burial
" (warning: graphic photos).
In southern China, the ancient Bo people hung the coffins of their dead on the sides of cliffs
, where they can still be seen today. Similar customs have been practiced in the Philippines
Cultures from around the world have practiced endocannibalism, or eating of the dead. The Aghori of India retrieve decaying, incompletely cremated bodies from the Ganges and eat them
. Several cultures—the Yanomamo
of the Amazon, the Amahuaca of Peru, and some African tribes—grind up the bones of their dead, and cook the bonemeal into foods which are then consumed by members of the tribe.
I'm sure this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unusual and interesting funeral practices—post your own links!