Weirdest Funerals: 21 Eccentric Customs & Rituals

Weirdest Funerals

Who’s to say what’s odd or weird when dealing with a topic such as death? Every culture has their own way of dealing and interpreting death. With that said… we think we’ve found some over the top burial rituals. If you’re looking for the weirdest funerals from around the world – we got them right here. We found 21 of the most bizarre and unusual customs from around the globe. 

From cannibalism and feeding dead bodies to vultures to burying your family under your kitchen, there are some pretty bizarre ways to send off the dead.

Weirdest Funerals [Infographic]

To start, we put together a Top 10 Weirdest funerals infographic.

top 10 Weirdest Funerals

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21 weird funerals, death rituals & strange funerals from around the globe

Our infographic just scratched the surface on some of the strange and unusual funerals. We’ll explore 21 strange funerals and burial practices from around the world.

1. Public Cremation

No Smores here. Crestone, Colorado provides the USA’s only legal, public open-air cremation facility. You read that correctly…Right here in the United States, mourners can be seen stacking logs and pinyon pine which burns more intensely than other kinds of kindling. The cost? $500 will cover the wood, land use, stretcher and fire-department availability.

Public Colorado Cremation
Image via Ivan Moreno / AP

2. sky burial

Human bird feed: If you’re part of a Tibetan sky burial, your dead body will be cut up into many pieces and left out for the local birds to consume. The sky burial is seen as compassionate as well as an act of charity by some Buddhists.

Eternal Reefs
Image via Eternal Reefs

3. Ocean Reef Memorial

Die and become a marine habitat? A U.S. based company named Eternal Reefs will take your cremated remains and incorporate it into a cement sphere or “reef ball”. You’ll be a permanent home for local sea life!

4. Endocannibalism

Eating of the Dead: Endocannibalism is defined by the of eating human flesh from the same community – such as a local tribe, social group or society. Some time ago, the Yanomami of South America, the Wari people of Brazil and the Melanesians of Papua New Guinea  would consume the local dead as a way to get rid of the fear of death.

Endocannibalism
Image via Wikipedia
Jazz Burial
Image via Wikimedia Commons

5. Jazz burial

A rockin good time! New Orleans and Jazz go hand in hand, so why now incorporate it into a funeral ritual? A New Orleans funeral procession starts out with a big horn band playing sad tunes in the beginning, but soon afterward – upbeat jazz and blues tunes roll in followed by energetic dancing.

6. kitchen Funeral

Don’t bury where you eat? If you visit the northern Philippines, you may come across the Apayo who are known to bury family member’s coffins under the kitchen areas in their homes. The Apayo also place some items in the coffin for dead’s afterlife journey, like an alcoholic beverage called basi.

Kitchen Funeral
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Totem Pole Funeral
Image via Wikimedia Commons

7. totem pole funeral

A smashing ending: The Haida people, a native North American culture, had a pretty unique funeral ritual. If the a shaman or chief died, their bodies would be pulverized with clubs. The remains would be placed into a suitcase type box and put into a totem pole. This totem pole would be placed in front of the dead’s home.

8. Fantasy coffins

How about a fantasy coffin? In the Ghana culture, you’ll find that people are fond of being buried into something that reflects or represents how they lived & they’ll continue with their profession in the afterlife. Want some examples of these fantasy coffins? You may see a caskets shaped like buildings, animals, ships, cars or an airplane!

Fantasy Coffins
Image via Wikipedia
Crossroads Suicide Burial
Image via Wikimedia Commons

9. Crossroads Suicide Burial

Don’t meet me at the Crossroads: Suicide was seen as a crime in ancient England. The bodies of those who committed suicide were buried at the crossroads. The reasoning for this was to confuse the spirits of the dead. The English believed that suicidal spirits would return to their home or village and haunt them.

10. Skull Burial

Can you dig it? The Kiribati is a Pacific island nation lays out their dead in their homes. Depending on the status of the deceased, they’ll be laid out for up to 12 days. They will then be buried. However, months after burial – they body is dug up and their skull is removed! Once the skull is polished and cleansed, it’s displayed in their home.

Skull Burial
Image via Pixabay
Turning Of The Bones
Image via Wikimedia Commons

11. Turning of the bones

That’s a wrap! Famadihana is a death ritual in Madagascar by the Malagasy. During this funeral ritual, called the turning of the bones, the Malagasy bring the bodies of their dead from their family crypts. They’ll rewrap all of their corpses in brand new cloth and then dance with their corpse sacks.

12. Finger amputations

Cut your losses. This death ritual is currently banned (thank goodness), but in West Papua, New Guinea – the Dani people will cut off some of their fingers if they’re related to the deceased. It’s not just anyone either… it’s the children and women of that are related to the deceased!

Finger Amputations
Image via ScholarBlogs - Emory University
Blindfolded Funeral
Image via framepool

13. Blindfolded funeral

Knock knock, anyone home? In Northwestern Philippines, the Benguet will blindfold their deceased and place them next to the entrance of their home. – the dead body sitting up. You might say visitors are always greeted by a warm welcome. On second thought, a dead body would be a “cold welcome.”

14. Tinguian Funeral

Got a light? In the Philippines, the Tinguian people will dress the bodies of the dead with their best outfits and garments. They will then sit the deceased on a chair, put a cigarette between their lips and light it. This definitely ranks high in the creepy funerals category.

Tinguian Funeral
Image via cloudmind
Tree Burial
Image via Wikimedia Commons

15. Tree burial

Timber!!! In the Philippines there is a community of people known as the Caviteño. When they are dying due to old age or health issues. To prepare for their death, they’ll go into the woods and pick a tree. The family builds a tiny tree hut for the soon to be deceased family member. When death arrives, the dead are vertically entombed vertically within the hollowed tree trunk.

16. Sati

Now that’s a fire! Sati is now one of the unusual funerals that’s illegal. Sati was an Indian funeral ritual where the Hindu widow would lie with her dead husband and would be burned alive on a funeral pyre. There were other versions of this which included drowning and buried alive with the dead husband.

Sati
Image via Wikipedia
Tower Of Silence
Image via Wikimedia Commons

17. Tower of Silence

Quite the production. With a Zoroastrian vulture funeral the deceased is washed and cleansed with bull urine. It’s then visited by a Sagdid or holy dog. Finally, it’s put on top of a structure called the Tower of Silence. This is where the body is eaten by hungry vultures.

18. Aboriginal Burial

Moisturizer? In Australia, the aboriginal people left their dead relatives out in the open so they could rot under dirt and leaves. After decomposing, the liquified body would sometimes be rubbed on the skins of the children. It was thought to provide and pass along the best qualities of the deceased. The remaining bones were then worn around the neck’s of the family or shown off in caves.

Aboriginal Burial
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Glowing Buddhas
Image via Chris McGrath / Getty Images file

19. Glowing Buddhas

A special glow: Who has the highest cremation rate in the world? It’s Japan at around 99.9%. A special columbarium in Tokyo provides glowing Buddha statues. All but 1 of the statues light up in a blue glowing light. The exception is for the visiting mourners – their Buddha glows white and shows exactly where their deceased family member is from the rest of the displays. 

20. German Rental

Rent to own? Germans, like several other European cultures – don’t buy burial plots. Germans will rent them for around 20 years. What happens when the time is up? The dead are put into a mass grave. 

German Cemetery Rental
Image via Unsplash
Burial Beads
Image via Ahn Young-joon / AP

21. Burial beads

Change the dead into colorful beads: This custom can be found in South Korea where dead people are compressed into little colorful beads that are shown off in homes. The most common colors of the burial beads? They’re typically a shiny blue/green, black or pink!

Well there you have it – 21 of the world’s weirdest funerals and bizarre traditions. Be sure to check out some of our other posts like Game of Thrones Life Insurance or our Life Insurance Companies Top 10 list.

Michael Quinn

Michael Quinn

Michael is owner & life insurance expert at Life Insurance Blog where we've helped thousands of shoppers learn and secure affordable life insurance online.
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