The modern world has generally known two main types of funerals: burial or cremation. The typical image of a funeral is general akin to that of an orthodox affair, be it a Greek orthodox funeral, a Macedonian orthodox funeral, or another denomination.
It may not come as a surprise, though, that around the globe there are a plethora of quirky and unique ways in which different societies have traditionally fare-welled those who have passed. Like many worldwide traditions, the funeral has sprouted in different and fascinating ways in different locations. Here are five of the most interesting funeral traditions which you might not have heard of.
1. Beaded Ornaments - In South Korea, many people have begun opting to have either themselves or their loved ones transformed into an ornament that can be a decorative and beautiful reminder of your loved one. The remains of the deceased are heavily compressed into beads and gems of different colours which are then traditionally displayed throughout the home.
2. Casual Funeral Day - The Portuguese have steered clear of the material life when it comes to their funerals. While many western funerals are all about professional and modern attire, Portuguese funerals place an emphasis on comfort and honest living. Those in attendance of the funeral are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes, whether it be jeans and a shirt or the clothes they wear to work, even if they work construction or something similar and are in a uniform.
3. Play Them Off - New Orleans might not be a place you'd think of when it comes to unique funeral traditions, but the vibrant musical history of the region has given birth to its very own type of send-off. Funerals in New Orleans can be accompanied and lead by a big horn band, playing iconic jazz tunes as the procession makes its way down the street.
4. The Tree of Life - The Caviteno, a people based near Manila in the Philippines, bury their dead inside of hollowed out trees rather than digging and putting them into the ground. Trees are often hand-picked out before a person's demise and offer a final means for the person to give back to nature.
5. Ecofuneral - As we slowly come to grips with how we've been treating our planet, everything we do is getting its very own environmentally friendly equivalent, and funerals are no exception. Eco-friendly funerals are now readily attainable and feature more friendly embalming techniques as well as biodegradable caskets which are made of a special willow so as to allow them to decompose with the body into the ground.