This is a list of some interesting and weird rituals in which people belonging to different cultures disposed their loved ones to the God, after they have ceased to live. Some bury their loved ones while others burn them. But there are some never heard of most bizarre funeral traditions in the world that you are going to be shocked after knowing. Read ahead to know about these shocking death rituals and traditions from around the globe.
Famadihana is a funerary tradition of the Malagasy people in Madagascar. Known as the turning of the bones, people bring forth the bodies of their ancestors from the family crypts and rewrap them in fresh cloth, than dance with the corpses around the tomb to live music. This is a way of the Malagasy people to remember their dead relatives and loved ones from time to time. These people dig out the remains of their dead one’s body at regular intervals and wrap them in fresh clothes. They bury them again after carrying them around their villages.
This tradition simply involved tying the dead to the ancient trees found among the village of the deceased. This ritual is probable to be practiced by people who are atheist and do not follow any certain set of traditions and culture. This ensures that their dead ones are always in the hearts of the people and the ritual is a way of reminding others that they must prepare for death and the live thereafter.
3. Hanging of Coffins
This ancient ritual practiced by the old Chinese Dynasties involved the displaying of coffins on high rock cliffs. They believe that coffins need to be close to the sky so that their dead can be closer to heaven. The coffins were actually discovered by the archaeologists among the remains of these ancient civilizations. Setting of coffins meant that the still thought of their dead in the highly respectable positions and their ghosts and spirits are free to roam around the hills and rocks.
4. Mass Scavenging
This ancient ritual practice by the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. The ritual involves throwing all the dead people in a vicinity of town, village or city in one pit and then letting wild animals loose for them to feed on the dead bodies. This way the relatives do not need to perform any other methods like burial and cremation. Disposing of the bodies through this method lets the dead live only in one form in the hereafter and they have no belongings in the real world, not even their own bodies.
5. Exposing Dead to Vultures
Another bizarre tradition being revitalized by the Parsi community of Mumbai. Mainly a ritual practiced by the Zoroastrian religion, by first preparing the dead by cleansing and bathing them and then setting them up on Towers of their religious temples to vultures. The idea behind this tradition is that the dead must get rid of their physical forms and must only survive in one being, i.e. their spiritual selves.
Still practiced in the modern world, the ritual involves setting a proper platform of wood and then setting the dead ones on fire. The cremated body is then filled in a jar to be kept close by the dear ones of the deceased. Some of the dead ones, in their own lives, leave wills as to how they would like their ashes to be disposed of. Some even wish for themselves to be released in the space, some living in India wish for them to be flown into the River Ganges or any other ocean and some wish for them to be kept close by their relatives.
This modern practice has derived ideas from the ancient ritual of Sati. The traditional funeral ceremony on the South Pacific Island of Fiji involves killing of the near and dear ones of the deceased. The practice implies that the dead ones should not be left alone in the other world and must be accompanied by a loved one in the hereafter so as to make the process of death less painful.
8. Sky Burial
One of the most bizarre funeral traditions still in practice. Sky burial or ritual dissection is a funerary practice in the Chinese provinces of Tibet, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia. A human corpse is cut into small pieces and placed on a mountaintop, exposing it to the elements (mahabhuta) and animals – especially predatory birds. The function of the sky burial is simply to dispose of the remains in as generous a way as possible. The majority of Tibetans and many Mongolians adhere to Vajrayana Buddhism, which teaches the transmigration of spirits. They believed that there is no need to preserve the body, as it is now an empty vessel. Birds may eat it or nature may cause it to decompose.
Sati is a very old tradition from the religion of Hinduism, which is rarely practiced nowadays. Sati was a sort of punishment given to a woman whose husband has died, i.e. it primarily involved widows. Not only Hindus, but some other cultures are also known to practice this tradition. The widow was forced to burn herself as a way to sacrifice herself to the mighty powers in respect of her husband’s death. The main reason of this ritual practice could be that an alone woman has no place in this world after her husband’s death and she must sacrifice herself willingly before the Gods.
One of the most bizarre funeral traditions from Papua New Guinea, Australia and Brazil in which the community feasted upon the deceased’s body. Now rarely practiced, this inhuman practice probably arose from malnourished nations who sought other methods to feed themselves. Cannibalism thus left any need for disposing of any body. The deceased one’s family used to gather around the dead body and used fire and other basic tools to make it edible. It is also known to be practiced in nations who primarily survived in the jungles with not much to eat except herbs and plants.