An understanding of others can enrich our understanding of ourselves and our culture. All people are shaped by the culture that surrounds them. The human expression of grief is no less a product of culture than marital customs or eating habits. Acts of Grief can tell us a lot about a culture, and what it values and believes. They help us have deeper connections with each other and a better understanding to the human perspective.
Buddhists believe in reincarnation. They believe that someone enters a new life immediately after death.So mourning for traditional Cambodian death rituals and funerals is not necessarily top of the agenda, though close relatives and family members will wear white, the color of mourning, and possibly shave their heads for the funeral. Buddhist traditions involve sharing positive energy and meditating. Throughout Buddhist countries, the funerals differ slightly, but they usually include an open casket as a reminder that life is only a phase and it’s temporary.
Hindus believe that the soul continually cycles through different bodies. So, death is thought of as a change in the journey not an end to life. In Hinduism the mourning period is limited to a 13-day period. It is thought that if someone mourns too much, then it will be harmful to the soul of the deceased. Immediately after the person dies an oil lamp is placed near the body. This lamp stays burning for the next three days. The body is cremated one day after death, and must be done between sunset and sunrise.
Did you know that the tradition of wearing black during mourning dates back to Roman times? In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church changed the acceptable liturgical colors to be worn for the Mass for the Dead to violet, black or white.
Most funerals take place at public or private buildings used to mourn the dead. They are short but very emotional. After all, Latin cultures can be very similar to Middle Eastern ones. Mexicans, however, respect death and cherish it. The Day of the dead (Día de Muertos) is one of the biggest holidays in the country where people remember their lost loved ones and honor their memory.
There are usually common characteristics to all of these traditions. Ritual foods, clothing and behavioral rules are key parts to mourning in almost every tradition. It is true that almost every country, religion, or culture has its own traditions regarding it. However, they all ultimately achieve the same thing, which is coming to terms with loss.