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Odd Rituals Concerning the Dead I

Around the world, there are odd rituals pertaining to the dead. Some are followed for the benefit of the deceased, such as catering to their soul, while others are followed so that the dead do not haunt the living. In this article, you will learn about a handful of odd rituals centered on the dead, including one that involves the dead not being laid to rest directly after their passing.

Living with the Dead

An ethnic group in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, called the Torajan people sees funerals as a significant part of their lives. In order to host a funeral (often seen as a festival), families spend months raising the necessary funds. During this stretch of time, the dead people of their loved one is wrapped in clothes and kept under the family residence. The Torajans believe that the deceased soul remains with them until the burial takes places. Torajan funerals are truly a sight to see. Some usually involve the practice of sacrificing a buffalo. Important members of the family will have more buffalo killed in their honor. When the deceased is finally ready to be buried for good, their coffin is placed in a cave and their effigy is placed at the mouth of the cave that looks out.

The Torajans also have a habit of hanging the coffins of young children, while the wealthy residents are typically placed inside of caves.

Coffins that Hang

The practice of hanging coffins can also be found in other places around the world. In China, the Bo people (which are fighting extinction) regularly hang the coffins of their dead. In addition to this indigenous Chinese minority tribe, the practice is seen in Sagada. In the Philippines, there are caves made out of limestone that surround Sagada that serve as the final resting place of the local dead. While numerous bodies have been placed in the caves, it is a long tradition in the region to decorate the faces of the cliffs with coffins.

Sky Burial in Tibet

There is a funeral practice in Tibet that involves a custom of dissecting the deceased and placing the body parks on the top of a mountain. This tradition falls in line with Buddhist beliefs of providing resources to the world ”“ even after someone has died. The body is “offered” to the vultures since the living person is no longer in need of the shell. At one time, China attempted to suppress a great deal of local practices, including sky burials. They deemed the tradition illegal, but since the 1980s, it is still possible for one to observe what is called a ‘jhator’ when permission is given by the family. Very few outsiders have ever been in the presence or learned of the burial.