Category Archives: Cultural Perspectives

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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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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