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5 Unique Burial Rituals May 31, 2022

Coffin for water burial

One of the ways funerals and final services have evolved through the years is that they have become more individualized and customized. The reality is, unique burial rituals have been around for generations. Here is a look at 5 such unique burial rituals:


Water is an important part of burials in a variety of areas around the globe, especially in Nordic countries where water plays such a large role in daily life. Some bodies are buried at sea, some are placed in coffins facing the sea, and some are even set adrift in what is known as “death shops.” These ships may be set afloat on rivers or the ocean. People who have spent large amounts of time on the water may also want to include it as part of a burial ritual.


In some countries and religions, sending souls skyward is a common part of the burial ritual. This is true in Buddhist populations, like in Tibet. Here, families will try to help souls reach their heavenly homes. Bodies may be left outside and cut into pieces for the birds and other animals to digest. In this ritual, the body is viewed as an empty vessel, and it should now be free. It is symbolic of the circle of life.


While funeral processions in America tend to be slow and somber, in some parts of India they become celebrations of life. The deceased is dressed in colorful clothes and paraded through the streets. Some rituals include sprinkling the body with water from the Ganges, and it is often cremated to stop the cycle of reincarnation.


While cremation is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, in South Korea it is taking the process to the next step. Ashes are turned into polished beads of various colors. These beads are often displayed in glass jars, vases, and even in open decorative dishes. They serve as a beautiful tribute to the deceased while conserving space in the small country.

“Dancing with the Dead”

In Madagascar, the Malagasy people participate in what is known as Famadihana. Every few years, the families of the deceased open their tombs and rewrap the bodies in fresh linen. The process is accompanied by dancing and music near the tomb. The process is said to speed up the decomposition process and release the soul into the afterlife.

At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, we can help you create a personalized celebration of life or final service in tribute to your loved one. Contact our caring team today. We have been proud to serve the families of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for generations.

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