Unusual funeral traditions from around the World

23 May 2016

This week we take a look at some of the most unusual funeral and memorial traditions from around the world that are still practiced today.

Unusual funeral traditions from around the World

South Korean beads made of ashes

Due to a recent law passed in South Korea, burial space has become limited. This has seen the popularity of cremations skyrocket. Rather than simply take home the ashes, families are choosing to have their loved ones' remains compressed into tiny beads which are then displayed around the house.

New Orleans jazz festival procession

Tourists flocking to 'The Big Easy' live in hope they will catch a jazz funeral parade during their visit. As the deceased is taken to the church the band play a solemn, downbeat ballad before breaking out into rapturous freestyle jazz, as only New Orleans jazz musicians can, once the burial has taken place. Extravagant colours and erratic dancing are part of the ceremony.

Apayao kitchen burial

Inhabitants of the Apayao province in northern Philippines choose to bury the deceased below the kitchen area of their home.

Tibetan sky burial

Tibetan Buddhists are great believers in reincarnation and the idea of soul transmission. Therefore after death, once the soul has vacated the body, the deceased is left on a mountain to be exposed to the elements and animals so that it is returned to earth faster and more naturally. 

Cremation on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi

Varanasi is considered the most sacred place on earth to be cremated for Hindu people in India and every year thousands make a pilgrimage to the north-eastern city on the banks of the spiritually cleansing Ganges to be cremated. The deceased are wrapped in vivid cloths and carried through the streets of the city to one of the numerous ghats on the river, where they are set alight in front of family members, friends and photographing tourists.