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Strange funeral customs from around the world

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 atop dokhmas, 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). [more inside]
posted by greenie2600 on Dec 3, 2008 - 32 comments

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