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Tales of Bizarre Burial Rituals

Updated on May 20, 2013

Tibetan Buddhist Burial


Suspended Burials

There was a people known as the "Bo" who suspended their dead's coffins from the sides of cliffs in southwest China. They had three different ways of displaying the coffins 1) would be placed inside caves 2) set upon wooden pegs that jutted out of the sides of the cliffs 3) they would place the coffins on pieces of rock that protruded out of the side of the cliffs. These mysterious people disappeared much in the same way as the Maya of Brazil. The Bo were an ethnic minority; they were well known by others for their hanging of their coffins. At the coffin sites there was also cliff paintings found which helped in the understanding of these lost people. There has been over 200 coffins found hung on the limestone cliffs between Mantangba and Sumawan in southwest China.

Hanging Coffins


Tibetan Buddhist Celestial Burials

Since Buddhists believe that the body is just a shell of sorts that houses the sole or spirit when someone passes they see the body as an empty shell. They don't see the purpose of putting a body in a coffin for example and then burying it. But instead they believe that it makes more sense to feed the wild animals the dead body or shell. Sometimes they will chop the body up and disperse the pieces randomly or they will leave it intact for the animals themselves to take apart. I guess they feel the dead body is filling the need to feed the hungry animals.

Aboriginal Funeral Cylinder


Australian Aboriginal Burial Rituals

The Aboriginal people of Australia are not only ancient people but they have also managed to keep many of their ancient rituals still to this day. One of these rituals is the burial ritual of family member or loved one. This involves putting the corpse of the deceased up onto a platform and covering it with leafs. They paint their bodies and sing chants and songs that have symbolic meanings as well as cutting themselves in a show of their grief. The body is left for a couple of months on the platform. When it is fully decomposed the loved ones then take the bones of the deceased and scatter them in various places; sometimes they use a "funeral cylinder" to carry the bones in as shown in the picture.

Keeping Fingers Attached Much Better!


Ritual Finger Amputation

There is a tribe in New Guinea known as the "Danis" tribe that used to practice amputating fingers in a show of grief for the loss of their loved one. This ritual was expected to be performed by the women and children that were related to the deceased. They believed that this would appease the spirits and keep them away. This ritual is no longer prohibited which I can honestly say thank goodness for that! I can't imagine chopping my fingers off to show my grief! That would just be adding more pain to the pain I would already be feeling for my loss. I would then not only be grieving for the loss of my loved one but my finger as well!

Strange Burial Rituals

Do you find the burial rituals above strange or bizarre?

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    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Very strange rituals indeed but then I guess these people would think our ways strange too.

      Interesting article thanks for sharing

    • Pamela-anne profile image

      Pamela-anne 4 years ago from Miller Lake

      Thanks for your kind support Ms.Dora as always you have something insightful to say; I believe they probably due think our rituals very strange indeed! Take care Ms. Dora and have a great week!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Yes Pamela. These rituals are strange and bizarre. The Australian seems to prolong the pain and grief--a couple of months? I wonder if our method seems strange to them.

    • Pamela-anne profile image

      Pamela-anne 4 years ago from Miller Lake

      Some of them were new to me as well; I found those hanging coffins on the cliffs particularly interesting. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my hub hope you will continue to read them. Thanks so much for your support in means a lot to me. Take care pam:)

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 4 years ago from Philippines

      I never knew of these burial rituals. Very interesting:)

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Interesting stuff Pamela. Voted up and shared

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      To strange! But as I wrote in another of your hubs.... those people might find us a strange bunch as well!

    • cheaptrick profile image

      cheaptrick 4 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      I think the Buddhists have it right,the body is just a shell and using it to serve others is noble.

      I plan on being buried in a way that serves others as well. I'm going to be buried sans coffin in a shallow grave in front of a school. I plan on being buried with just my fat butt sticking out of the ground so the kids will have a place to park their bicycles...Yes I'm always open to novel ways of serving mankind. Namaste.