Category Archives: Cultural Perspectives

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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Standing Rock Land and Water Protectors Defend Burial Grounds From Desecration by Big Oil

Native American graves excavated for pipeline construction

The standoff on and near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation between indigenous-led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline project and security and police forces is currently making global headlines. At issue are the land rights of indigenous people, the human … Continue reading

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The Judaic Tradition of Ethical Wills

Ethical wills have been part of Jewish heritage for generations

An ethical will — also known as a “legacy letter” — is a document that bequeaths not material goods, but ideas and values. For Jewish people, ethical wills are a recognized part of how their faith is passed on from … Continue reading

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How Quakers Cope with Death

Honoring the dead brings solace to the grieving

The Quaker religion is a form of Christianity founded by George Fox in England around 1650. Six years later, in 1656, two women brought the Quaker religion to the United States. Quakers believe that Christ, and by extension God, lives … Continue reading

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Professional Pallbearers Dance the Dead Out in Style

Cross-continental tradition honours the dead with coffin choreography

If you attend a funeral in parts of West Africa and the Southern United States, you may witness some fancy footwork by professional pallbearers who specialize in dancing with the dead. These dancing pallbearers often sing gospel or other sacred … Continue reading

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