A Guide to Funerals Around the World

funerals around the world
Stock Photo and Image Portfolio by SITTIPONG WORASINWATTANA | Shutterstock

Many funerals around the world share common characteristics with traditional funerals in the UK, but there are some funerals around the world that are unique.

Take for example a jazz funeral, a funeral procession common in New Orleans and in the Cajun culture. Accompanied by a brass band, jazz funerals blend European and African cultures and were traditionally held for African American musicians.

The procession accompanies the deceased from the funeral home to the church or grave, playing sombre music. At the wake or post-funeral party, the music – which actually incorporates many genres – becomes more celebratory to appease the spirits protecting the dead.

Other funerals around the world share similar practices, such as Buddhist services, which traditionally incorporate cremation. However, in some places this simply isn’t practical, so the deceased has a sky burial; their body is placed on a mountain top to decompose via the natural elements, or in an act of charity, by scavenging animals.

Practiced in the Chinese provinces and autonomous regions of Tibet, Qinghai and Sichuan, this funeral’s function is simply to dispose of the body. A similar practice occurs in Mongolia, where the body lays in the open and is outlined in stones, which remain after the body has been excarnated.

The Hindu funeral of Antyesti or Last Sacrifice also shares common elements with other funerals around the world, including a euology or the recital of a hymn. The funeral focuses on returning the deceased to the elements of creation, and usually involves cremation, although some Hindu sects choose to bury their deceased.

However, the process of cremation is very different as the deceased is placed on a pyre, which is lit in the open air, usually near the river or water. The ritual is also dependant on age and gender and the caste or hereditary class within Hindu society.

Many funerals around the world share familiar characteristics of funerals in the UK. If you would like to discuss options for your funeral, contact us or call 0800 411 8683 to see how a funeral plan could help you.

Meta description: Funerals worldwide share similar characteristics and differ in many ways; leave instructions for your funeral in a Capital Life funeral plan.