Oddities and Facts of Death II

Burial techniques and traditions are often a topic that creates curiosity amongst people. These approaches differ in regards to location and time period. In this article, you will see how some cultures have dealt with issues concerning the burial of their dead.

Largest Communal Tomb

The most number of people in one tomb is a communal burial site that houses 180,000 deceased victims of World War II on Okinawa, Japan. The tomb was enlarged in 1985 to accommodate another 9,000 bodies thought buried on the island.

Largest Ossuary in the World

An ossuary is a well, building or other site that is created as a final resting place of human skeletal remains. Usually, this method is used when burial spaces are limited. Typically, the body is buried in a temporary grave until it has decomposed. The skeletal remains are then removed and placed in the ossuary. This space-saving tradition allows the remains of many more people to occupy a designated space. From Austria to Portugal, ossuaries have been discovered, but there is one that claims the title of being the largest in the world.

In a neat and tidy arrangement, there are the skeletal remains of 6 million people situated in subterranean catacombs beneath the streets of Paris, France. The tunnels and pathways under the city streets measure an estimated 186 miles, where 3 acres are packed tightly with the bones of those that did not make it into the overcrowded cemeteries during the late 1700s.

Large Gathering at Funeral

Even in death, political figures command the attention of the public. The local police say that the funeral of India’s Chief Minister, C N Annadurai, who died in February of 1969, was attended by 15 million people. Celebrities also see a great number of fans pay their respects. The Russian singer Vladimar Visotsky was so popular that the queue at his grave measured 6 miles. He passed away in July of 1980.

Longest Running Festival of the Dead

Mexico has been celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) for more than 3,500 years in one form or another. With traditions that date back to the days of the Aztecs and other Meso-American cultures, the festival honors the dead and the goddess Mictecacihuatl. Rites and other rituals were performed , many of which incorporated skulls. Today, the tradition is still held on November 1 and 2 of each year. Parties and celebrations take place with families and friends. Many people wear elaborate costumes and masks, which are often made out of wood.

Grave Digger Accolades

The grave digger plays an important role in the maintenance and flow of cemeteries. Johann Heinrich Karl Thieme of Aldenburg, Germany, is credited with having a grave-digging career that spanned 50 years. It is recorded that Thieme is responsible for the digging of 23,311 graves. When he died in 1826, his understudy dig his grave.