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Odd Funeral, Death Rituals and Customs , Part 9

When traveling to Hawaii, don’t venture too far into the caves (especially on the island of Maui) or you may discover something you probably don’t want to come in contact with on your vacation. In this article, you will learn why, as well as other trivia facts regarding traditional burials and cultural beliefs.

65) Sometimes, Hawaiians will remove the internal organs of their deceased loved ones and fill the cavity with salt , in a way to preserve the body. The bones are also considered sacred and believed to possess powers that assist them in diving.

66) The majority of caves found in Hawaii still possess the skeletons of former residents, especially in the caves located about the coast of Maui.

67) When traditional burials took place in the Hawaiian Islands, bodies were bent into a fetal position with their hands and feet tied in such a way to keep this position. A tapa cloth then covered the body, which was made out of the bark of the mulberry bush.

68) Since reincarnation is a big part of the Hindu belief system, the ceremonies centered on death and funerals follow in line with this concept, as relatives are in charge of intricate rituals meant to ensure a proper rebirth.

69) Washing and preparing the body, prayers, and reading from the Qur’an are some of the ceremonial features of an Islamic funeral. When burying the body, the body is positioned on its right side so that it faces Mecca. Cremation is not part of Islamic traditions.

70) In early Judaic times, a simple prayer service and washing of the body (which was wrapped in linen) was completed before relatives and friends gathered for a funeral banquet.

71) When a Jew has died, traditions usually include the closing of the eyes. The body is laid on the floor and covered. Candles are situated next to the body and then lit. As a sign of respect, the body is never left alone. The individuals who stay with the body are known as guards called ‘shomerim.’ No one is allowed to eat or drink close to the body.

72) When following Jewish law, if you were in the presence of a dead body, you will be deemed ‘ritually unclean.’ If you have been around the deceased, you must wash your hands before entering a house. This practice stands whether or not you have touched the body.

73) While many Jews do not undergo embalming or the removal of organs and fluids, which are prohibited, they are permitted to make allowance for autopsies and donating organs.

74) In Israel, coffins are not typically used, as they are not a requirement. If they are used for the burial of a loved one, holes are drilled into the material so that the body will have contact with the earth. A family member will also toss in a handful of earth from Israel into the casket of the deceased. These beliefs coincide with the concept that the dead will rise in Israel in the Messianic Age.