Tag Archives: Cultural Perspectives

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 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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Customs for Mourning in the Muslim Community

How to help an Islamic friend who is grieving

We live in an increasingly multicultural society. At some point, you will probably have a loved one, friend, or co-worker of the Muslim faith who loses a loved one to death. Knowing Muslim mourning customs can help you be more … Continue reading

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Telling the Bees: A Medieval Funeral Tradition

A funeral tradition that reflects the central importance of bees in daily life and worldview

Bees were highly prized in Medieval Europe for their honey and wax. The honey was used as a sweetener and medicine, as well as the key ingredient in mead — a mildly alcoholic drink that was consumed for its nutritive … Continue reading

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The Ancient Practice of Sky Burial

How the nomads of Mongolia return their loved ones to the universe

For thousands of years, the nomads of Mongolia have roamed the steppes of Central Asia, carrying their belongings and setting up their tents, called “gers,” on the harsh, inhospitable land. One of the last remaining nomadic cultures on Earth, these … Continue reading

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