Category Archives: Cultural Perspectives

The Traditions and Customs of Catholic Funeral Mass

What to expect from a mass and which traditions you should follow

When I worked as a hospice social worker, the care team often attended the funerals of clients who had died. I saw many ceremonies that were beautiful and meaningful, but the one that touched me most was the Catholic funeral … Continue reading

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The Mystery and Magic of Haitian Vodou Funeral Rites

Ensuring the survival of the spirit

According to The Guardian, Haitians have a saying that Haiti is 70 percent Catholic, 30 percent Protestant, and 100 percent Vodou. Vodou, or Voodoo as many call it, is a combination of Catholicism, other forms of Christianity, several African religions … Continue reading

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Secular Funerals and Rituals Are Becoming More Common

Rituals help atheists, agnostics and the otherwise religiously unaffiliated move through grief

As global projections predict a rise in religious affiliation among people worldwide, the percentage of religiously affiliated Americans continues to drop. The Pew Research Center has found that a growing minority of Americans, particularly Millennials, are religious “nones” — atheists, agnostics and those … Continue reading

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Tangihanga: A Look Into a Traditional Maori Funeral

How one of the world's most remarkable cultures approaches expected and unexpected loss

The Maori people are an indigenous group of Polynesian New Zealanders whose ancestry can be traced all the way back to the 13th century. Due to centuries of isolation, the Maori have established a distinct society of characteristic art, language and … Continue reading

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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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