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Odd Funeral, Death Rituals and Customs , Part 5

Some cultures believe that a pregnant woman should not look at anything that is dead or it will place a “mark” upon her baby. This is especially true of deceased family members. In this article, you will learn about burial caves of Hawaii and ancient Mayan practices.

27) Burial caves have been found located all over Hawaii. Sand dunes were filled with the bodies of men, women and small children. A great deal of these caves have been discovered and raided for personal treasures.  

28) In Hawaiian culture, it is believed that bones (also referred to as ‘iwi’) hold great power. It was thought that whomever was in possession of bones would benefit. In the past, the skull, arm bones, and leg bones were protected, preserved, or hidden.

29) For some cultures, the wake lasts all through the night. It was thought that if loved ones sat up with the dead, then no evil would bother the corpse. In the past, people greatly believed that spirits took possession of the dead. This practice was also held so that family members could be absolutely certain that the deceased was in fact really dead. It was not uncommon for an individual to drink so much that they passed out to the point that they appeared dead. A wake also served as a celebration of the deceased life and all of their achievements.

30) Ancient Mayan burial customs included putting to rest loved ones with a piece of Indian corn. They also placed a bead made out of stone in their mouths. The significance of the corn was to serve as food during the long journey “to the heavens.” The bead was given to the dead as a way to pay their toll to get into their final resting place. Graves usually faced north or west because these were the directions mostly associated with where the Mayan heavens were located.

31) Before ancient Mayans were placed into their gravesite, their bodies were wrapped in cotton blankets.

32) Being buried in a tomb during ancient Mayan days meant that you were once a person of the highest ranking within the community. Tombs typically consisted of what was known as “step platforms” , nine in total, which was meant to represent the nine layers of the underworld.

33) The color red served as a symbol of death and of second birth within the Mayan culture. Red sulfide played a role during the preparation of a dead body.

34) Some people believe that all of the mirrors found in the house of the newly deceased should be kept covered or turned to face the opposite direction. The purpose is to prevent reflections from showing in the mirror for three days after a death has taken place. During this time, some believe that the first person to see their reflection in the mirror will be the next to lose their life.