Burial Traditions Throughout History
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM America/New_York
The tradition of funerals and burial history has been diverse throughout the thousands of years that humanity has existed. While a certain reverence and respect for the dead has been paid in most parts, there are many methods in which this process was carried out.
Some of the earliest traces of burial history can be traced back to Neanderthals. Though primitive in nature, they still paid respect to their dead by placing flowers on the deceased's chest before burying them in the caves that they used as homes. This showed a reverence for the bodies that was not necessarily given in all cultures.
A practice in Mongolia and Tibet has taken place for thousands of years. This method of burial is called a Sky Burial. It takes place in the thought process that the soul is the essence of a person, and death leaves the body empty. Instead of burying the body in a casket or cremating it, the corpse is instead cut into multiple pieces and left atop mountains. Doing this exposes the body to elements and allows it to return to the soil.
The Greek culture has multiples takes on burial rites. If a person was revered or thought to be worthy, they were set out on rafts which were set ablaze so that their bodies could burn away. If an individual was thought to be a traitor, the body was simply left in the streets for the rats and vermin to feast upon.
Most people are familiar with Egyptian culture - mummification was extremely popular and the accepted method of burial. This tradition, while not followed exactly, is mirrored in multiple cultures. Above ground tombs are still a very popular tradition. Even in cultures that are less official, such as the Caviteno who are located near Manila, echo this past tradition. When a person falls ill, a tree is selected. Upon death, they are entombed within the trunk of that tree.
Civilization in the modern era have many different ways to handle funerals and the dead. Because so many cultures and religions are accepted, there are always options for how your body is treated after you pass away. There is always the traditional method of being embalmed, placed in a coffin, and buried in a cemetery. However, some people choose to be more environmentally conscious in their last act on earth. These people are buried in wicker baskets without any embalming preparation. In doing so, they leave no chemicals or impact on the earth. There is even the possibility of being sealed within a pod so that your body is able to grow a tree from the nutrients that your decomposing corpse would leave being. Cremation is one of the more popular methods of burial, so that your ashes can be scattered wherever you so choose.
There are many methods of burial throughout history - some civilizations practice traditions passed on through generations, while a new method is always in the wings of development for the future!