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Odd Funeral, Death Rituals and Customs , Part 10

When taking a look at the Baha’i Faith, you will find a religion that was founded in 19th century Persia, which places emphasis on the spirituality of all humankind. About 5 to 6 million Baha’is are estimated to practice all over the world in more than 200 countries and other regions. They believe that death is a ‘messenger of joy’ for the deceased. Other trivia facts regarding this culture and more are found in this article.

75) Members of the Baha’i Faith feel that the soul lives even after the body is gone, which then enters a stage of spiritual journeying. The deceased of this faith are buried within a distance (that totals one-hour’s time of travel) from the place of death. They do not embalm or cremate their dead. Instead, the deceased is washed and wrapped in a shroud. Often times, the dead are buried with a Baha’i burial ring. A ceremonial must is to recite the Prayer for the Dead at the funeral.

76) Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that death is a necessary part of human life , in association to original sin. They feel that death is a must if one wishes to achieve ‘everlasting life.’ At funerals, Eastern Orthodox Christians engage in a special vigil over the dead (known as ‘parastasis’ or ‘panikhida’). The funeral service includes hymns, chants, and bible readings. While burying the dead is preferred amongst members of the Orthodox Church, cremation is acceptable if country laws make it a requirement.

77) Many Jews undergo a mourning period that lasts for seven days, called shiva, which takes place after the burial. Traditionally, mourners rent the clothes worn as a symbol of grief. Nowadays, a black ribbon is commonly worn instead of the ‘tearing of the clothes’ , regarded in the past. Mirrors are often covered during this time, while mourners sit on stools low to the ground. People will also avoid wearing leather as well. The full mourning period will last a year, followed by yearly ‘anniversaries’ marking the death of loved ones.

78) A great deal of Lutheran groups believe that death is the opposite of what God intended for humankind. It is thought that the rebellion shown towards God caused death to emerge as a punishment. Typically, funeral services for the burial of the dead are observed. Services are held in a church, but are sometimes hosted within a private home.

79) Mormons see death as the separation of the spirit and the body. It is also thought that people go to judgment by God. While the act of mourning takes place within the religion, death is something that is also seen as a time of hope. Many believe that it is a stepping stone for entering the next life and eternal life with God. Funeral service usually take place at an LDS chapel or mortuary. The preferred method of cremation is burial because it is thought that internment in the earth serves as a symbol of the return of dust to dust.

80) Parsees (those who practice Zoroastrianism) do not believe in cremation, burial, or submerging their dead in water, as they view the dead as not pure. Following their faith, Zoroastrians do not permit “contaminating” any other elements with dead bodies. This is why they follow a ritual in the desert, which actually dates back more than 3,000 years ago. Zoroastrians view death as the work of the Devil and not of God. Therefore, the dead are left on hilltops for the vultures to deal with.