Have you thought about your final arrangements? All over the world, people celebrate, commiserate and pay their respects to the lives of their loved ones when they die. There’s no right way to say goodbye to someone who took up a huge space in your life and the uncertainty of what happens after we die can leave you feeling anxious; so why not take one last trip around the globe and see how different cultures of the world handle death and the life thereafter?
Spain – Rosario Ceremonies
It’s no surprise that the Spanish, often known to be affectionate and very community-focused, spend nine days honouring their loved ones after death in a ceremony called ‘Rosario’. A Rosario is an incredibly moving ceremony where the family and loved ones display candles and flowers while sharing prayers and memories of the deceased. Despite the drawn out process of the Rosario, the actual burial of the body usually takes place within 48 hours after dying! So in Spain, people have their final arrangements taken care of to some extent.
Egypt – Ancient Mythologies Living On
When we think of Egypt, our minds are cast back to the mystical and spiritual age of Pharaohs, pyramids and mummification. Today, we can still see incredible spiritual beliefs living on (Egyptians believe the soul returns to its grave on the third, seventh, fifteenth and fortieth days after the death, continuing to return every Friday).
Though there are still some spiritual elements to their belief in the afterlife, modern day Islamic-Egyptians forego the mummifying tradition of their ancestors. With around 90% of Egypt’s population being Islamic, the majority of the final arrangements avoid embalming the corpse, believing that one should not disturb the body. After Janazah prayers have been performed in a Mosque, the body is moved to a mausoleum, with the body always facing Mecca – a traditional last resting place.
Japan – Buddhism And Shinto Final Arrangements
Known for its wealth of culture and historic traditions, Japan’s funeral traditions are heavily influenced by the country’s two presiding religions – Buddhism and Shinto.
When a family member dies in Japan, the body is often brought home to spend one final night at home, where they are covered by a sheet with ice packed around them. The next morning, a slow procession takes place to carry the body to a temple or more secular place where the funeral is to be held.
For the wake, guests bring specific envelopes of money to gift to the family – the amount being measured against the closeness to the deceased. The body is then normally cremated, with only the family left to be given a tour of the remaining bones. Young and old members of the family collect the bones with a special set of chopsticks (one made of bamboo, one willow – to symbolise a bridge between two worlds) and carefully place them in a small pot – which is taken home until they are ready to be interred in a family grave.
The Japanese believe in life after death, celebrating Obon across three days in August when they believe the spirits of their ancestors return to their family home. Lamps are often lit at the butsudan and small fires are set to guide their loved ones back to them.
Share Your Final Arrangements
These are just a few of the fascinating and reassuring beliefs around the globe, and whether or not you subscribe to any one religion or cultural belief, we all think about what happens to us after we die. Whether we know in our hearts what will happen after our death, our loved ones sometimes don’t have that same faith. That’s why Our Light Inside offers you a place to save and share your final arrangements with your family or next of kin and leave memories and ideas regarding your funeral.
Contact us to learn more about our memberships and how you can leave more than a will for your family.