Funeral Traditions

Funeral Traditions

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There are different funeral traditions all over the world. With American Independence Day taking place this week, we thought it would be a great idea to briefly explore a couple of fascinating alternatives compared to what we are used to here in the UK.

It’s one of the prototypical images of New Orleans, Louisiana: the boisterous, jazz-tinged funeral procession. Fusing West African, French and African-American traditions, funerals in New Orleans strike a unique balance between joy and grief as mourners are lead by a marching band. The band plays sorrowful dirges at first, but once the body is buried, they shift to an upbeat note. Cathartic dancing is generally a part of the event, to commemorate the life of the deceased.

In the United States, more and more people are opting for environmentally friendly burials. This means skipping embalming processes, mixing traditional concrete vaults and getting biodegradable, woven-willow caskets, which decompose into the ground. The Green Burial Council has approved 40 environmentally friendly cemeteries in the U.S. — way up from a decade ago. Another option: becoming a memorial “reef ball.” A company called Eternal Reefs compresses remains into a sphere that is attached to a reef in the ocean, providing a habitat for sea life.

Really interesting stuff. You can read about more funeral traditions from around the world, including the Philippines & South Korea, over on this TEDTalks article.


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