Category Archives: Cultural Perspectives

Blurring the Line Between Life and Death

Science and technology are changing Western culture's perspective on death

It wasn’t very long ago that no one questioned the finality of death. A person died when they were no longer breathing and their heart stopped beating — period. There was no such thing as CPR, and mechanical ventilators didn’t … Continue reading

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The Tradition of the Spanish Funeral

Fast interment, above ground niches, remaining close to the body

Different countries have different funeral traditions. The Spanish funeral focuses, among other things, on a rapid burial or interment. Many deaths in Spain occur in the home. The sick person’s loved ones usually start to prepare for the death a … Continue reading

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Chimpanzees Grieve Death Like Humans

Studies show how chimps grieve and mourn their dead

Chimpanzees are humans’ closest evolutionary relatives. Humans and chimps share roughly 99 percent of our DNA, and chimps display a wide range of emotions. It’s also possible that they mourn and grieve the deaths of relatives like we do. A study published … Continue reading

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Military Honors Memorialize Veterans and Comfort Survivors

Old traditions honor fallen soldiers

The military is a closely knit subculture with many long-standing traditions. When an active duty soldier, a member of the selective reserves or a former soldier who has completed at least one full term of enlistment dies, the military offers … Continue reading

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The Evolution of After-Tears Parties in South Africa

More young people are bucking tradition and mourning loved ones in their own way

Traditions aren’t static. They constantly warp and evolve with every new generation. This is especially true in South Africa, as younger generations living in urban areas have adopted a brand new burial tradition: after-tears parties. An after-tears party is a time … Continue reading

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The Spirit of The Dead According To Ojibwe Beliefs

Lee Staples, Ojibwe spiritual leader, facilitates traditional funerals on the Mille Lacs and Fond du Lac Reservations

Lee Staples, a spiritual leader for the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation in Central Minnesota, says that one must understand Ojibwe beliefs about life in order to understand Ojibwe beliefs about death. “We have within us Anishinaabe spirit, and we just … Continue reading

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