Death is something we will all face sometime in our lives and yet it is something we don’t like to talk about. Yet of all human rituals, burials are often the most elaborate. The earliest burials may have taken place as early as 50,000 years ago. The oldest existing burial site is in Israel and dates back 10,000 years.
This infographic offers a comprehensive look at funeral rituals across the world and down the ages. Funerals are steeped in culture. The origins of many of the rituals are lost. Yet they pass from one generation to the next, offering solace to the living.
Down the ages, people have tried to confer on their loved ones eternal remembrance, if not eternal life. From the days of the pyramids, people have built mausoleums and crypts intended to stand for decades into the future.
Hindus, by contrast, consider the human body a mere vessel of the soul. The body is burned at dusk or dawn on the day of death. On the third day, the ashes are thrown in the Ganges.
Though funeral rituals and burials have a timeless aspect, changes do happen. Many modern societies have accepted cremation where previously it was frowned upon. Perhaps one of the most recent changes has happened in the Korean ritual of compressing ashes into beads, saving much-needed space.