Funeral Rituals Around the World

Funeral Rituals of Cultures Around the World

October 23, 2018

We have all experienced funerals in which the bodies are cleaned, put inside coffins, prayers are said and then the burial is done. However, that is not the only way people bury their dead around the world. The more you search about the different cultures worldwide, the more diverse ways you will find for funeral and burials. Here are 6 different ways people deal with their dead in different parts of the world:

Jewish Funerals

In Jewish tradition, the body needs to be buried ideally within 24 hours. The coffin is closed and made of biodegradable material to let the body decompose in a natural way. Once the coffin is lowered and prayers are said, the mourners dig the soil of the gravesite with heavy spades and cover the coffin with it. All mourners take turns in doing so. Men grieve by tearing their white shirts and place a black ribbon on their jacket.

Antyesti India

Antyesti is a Hindu practice which is literally translated as a ‘last sacrifice.’ The ritual varies depending on the gender, caste and age of the deceased. The body is believed to return to the elements of creation through this ritual. The funeral pyre is used as a part of the practice.

The hiring of Professional Mourners – China and Taiwan

In the Far East, it is a common practice to hire professional mourners to showcase the popularity of the deceased and how much he/she is going to be missed. The mourners wail convincingly. After the wailing is done, they confidently share the life achievements and activities of the deceased to fellow guests. Some people even hire strippers to gain more attention from people. This practice was first introduced in Taiwan by the local mafia.

Burial Beads, South Korea

Since there is not much space available in South Korea, the bodies of the deceased are cremated and passed into jewellery-like beads. The beads are put inside a colourful urn or bottle and placed inside homes.

New Orleans Jazz Funerals

New Orleans Jazz funerals are a combination of old European and African traditions. A jazz band playing slow music marches along with the funeral. The beating changes to happy tones after the burial is done as an indication to celebrate life.  You may have seen this type of funeral ceremony taking place in one of the James Bond movies when Roger Moore used to play the character.

Jazz Funeral for Michael P. Smith

A tribute to Michael P. Smith, a photographer who spent three decades capturing vivid, vibrant images at jazz funerals, Mardi Gras Indian ceremonies and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In his honor, his body is paraded and remembered by those in the Jazz community.

Funerals & Burials in the UK & USA

Funerals in Britain are observed either in a religious format or a non-religious neutral format. The format usually consists of hymns, a hearse carrying the coffin with flowers, a eulogy speech and a religious service led by a minister inside the chapel. However, people are slowly shifting to the personalized way of burying their dead.


Funerals can be made creative by planning a theme around the hobbies and activities of the deceased. Many people today are planning a funeral in advance to have a say in their send-off. You too can personalise your funeral by keeping it respectful at the same time. Choose Eastern Memorials when selecting the headstones, memorials and tombstones for your loved ones.

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