Funeral Customs Around the World

October 27th, 2023
Funeral Customs Around the World

Different cultures and religions around the world have a variety of different funeral customs. A complete treatment of the subject would be beyond the scope of this short article. However, in today’s blog article, we will give you an idea of some customs that are very different from our own.


Sometimes geography can play a role in a funeral custom. For example, in south Louisiana, caskets are interred above ground because of the high-water table. This is a custom that was adopted because of the high risk of flooding and damage to caskets buried underground.

Sky Burials

In Mongolia and Tibet, some Buddhists choose a “sky burial.” A deceased person is left at a high altitude where animals can consume it. The underlying belief is that this destruction of the body allows the soul to escape its mortal container.


In Madagascar, an island nation off the coast of southeast Africa, dead bodies are exhumed every few years, celebrated, and then the bones are returned to the ground.

South America

In the Amazon, one tribe, the Yanomami, consume the ashes of the departed. Their belief is that this is how the deceased attains peace and rest in the afterlife.

Papua New Guinea

In parts of Papua New Guinea, an island country in Oceania, bodies are smoked and cured. The remains are then suspended in cages. This is a sign of great respect for the departed, and the local belief is that this is a parting gift to the deceased.

There is an amazing variety of traditions for funerals if we look at cultures that differ from our own.


Arbutus Funeral Service Inc., based in the Walnut Grove part of northwest Langley Township, British Columbia, is a family-owned and operated funeral home providing practical and affordable funeral services. We believe in cultural sensitivity and treat every client and family with respect and compassion. If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about funeral services, please call (604) 888-9895.