Halloween may be over, but we still have the Day of the Dead to celebrate. What better way to do so than look at interesting burial rituals from around the world! Here are some of the most bizarre:
Dining In (Papua New Guinea/Brazil)
Practiced by the Melanesians and Wari peoples, the ‘Feast of the Dead’ was used to bolster a lasting relationship between a recently deceased person and their loved ones. With the ingestion of the body, that dead person was also making one last sacrifice for the tribe, helping them get over their grief. Along these lines, the Yanomami will cremate a body first before consuming the ashes with a banana paste. Mmmm, that’s good eating!
Soul Searching (Tibet)
The Buddhist believe that the body is just a capsule for the soul to live. Therefore, when a person dies, the body no longer has any worth and is dismembered and left to be eaten by scavengers. Ground burial isn’t really a possibility in the frigid mountains of the region and so this is apparently the best way to deal with the deceased. Just think of all the condos that could be built if we no longer needed space for cemeteries.
Totem Poled (Pacific Northwest)
The Haida would take the bodies of their most respected citizens and crush it with clubs, making it fit into a box similar in size to a suitcase. It would then be placed upon a totem pole, which was to protect the individual and guide them into afterlife. Apparently this left quite the stench, though, as described by original missionaries to the areas. Bears must have also been a problem, as they searched for that ever-elusive picnic basket!
Hard Knock Life (Northern Europe)
The slave girl of a dead high-ranking Viking would be forced to have sex with every man in the village before being strangled to death and stabbed by a village matriarch. She would then be placed aboard a ship, with her master’s body and the ship would be lit on fire. This was all done to make sure the slave would serve her master in the afterlife and the Viking’s life force would be released through the mass sex (known today as rape).
Cliff Dive (China)
The Bo people buried their dead in caskets on platforms that jut out from the side of cliffs in southwest China’s Gongxian County. Why they did this is a mystery, as the civilization was largely wiped out by the Ming Dynasty centuries ago. Today, they are referred to as the “Sons of the Cliff” or “Subjugators of the Sky”. The cliffs also feature murals showing examples of how the Bo lived, similar to the Egyptians hieroglyphics.
Light My Fire (Bali)
This mass burning of bodies is at least followed by a feast of epic proportions, so at least you always have that to look forward to. The Hindu population of the island bury village members as they pass away in a mass grave. When there are enough bodies (I’m not sure of how many constitutes “enough”) the bodies are unearthed and placed on a float, which is showcased around the village (this ain’t no Disney parade), before being lit on fire in the hub of the settlement.
Immolation Sensation (India)
Today, we comfort a widow in the event their partner dies, but back in the day, it was a whole different story, particularly for women. In India, women were subjected to burn themselves to death during the funeral of their husband, in an act known as Sati. Of course, not all participants were willing. Some believe that the Sati was started to make sure wives wouldn’t poison or otherwise dispose of their husband to marry a lover. I hope Mrs. Sip keeps this in mind!
Drink #305: Day of the Dead Cocktail
- 1.5 oz Tequila (I used 1800 Reposado)
- 0.75 oz Grand Marnier
- Splash of Orange Juice
- Dash of Cinnamon
- Garnish with Cinnamon-Dusted Orange Slice
Of course, there are many other burial traditions out there, but I found these to be the most interesting. Can you imagine having to take part in any of these? What burial techniques fascinate you? Until next time…
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail wasn’t that bad. I like how the Cinnamon dusting kicked in at the end of each sip and added some spice and flavour to the drink. The Grand Marnier was my favourite component of the recipe and I feel the orange-flavoured liqueur works quite well with Tequila.