Funeral Traditions Essay

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Burial Customs All Around the World A funeral is a ceremony that is carried out to mark the death of a person in which the corpse of that particular person is buried or cremated. It marks the passing on from life to death. The funeral practice may include prayers, rituals, and/or donations that differ between ethnic groups or ancient tradition. Through history, many different techniques of laying the dead to rest have been created. Some cultures believe that burning the body or conducting a “funeral pyre” is the best way, while others believe that dismembering the deceased person’s body and leaving it for nature to do away with it is the correct way. Although tradition is different in many cultures, few aspects remain the same in all funerals. The most common funeral ceremony in America has been practiced since the start of the Civil War. “Caring for the dead has been around since the beginning of the country, but the Civil War drastically changed what was common back in the day.” (www.perfectmemorials.com). Today’s funeral services are split up into three steps: visitation, funeral, and burial service. At the visitation the embalmed body of the deceased person is placed on display in the coffin. Friends of the deceased meet relatives of the person, and relatives meet more distant relatives. The visitation ceremony is then classified as an “open casket” or a “closed casket”. At an “open casket” visitation, the embalmed body is treated with cosmetics for display to all who attend. And at a “closed casket” the coffin is closed off so the body is not visible. There are many reasons a family might hold a closed casket as opposed to an open casket. A closed casket will typically be held if the body has been badly damaged in an accident or fire, deformed from illness, or if the family is emotionally unable to cope with viewing the corpse. The next step in the process

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