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The Strangest Ancient Burial Ceremonies


There are all sorts of burial rituals around the world. In some areas the dead are sent off with song, dance and celebrations, just as there are areas where the the once buried dead are taken out of their graves so that they can be part of life again.

A great part of modern burial rituals have existed since ancient times, even if they've slightly changed. Below you'll find a list of the strangest burial ceremonies, some of which survive today.

1. New Guinea

New Guinea

In New Guinea, or more specifically the Dani tribe, when the man of a family dies they cut off the tip of one of his wife's fingers. This is done by the shaman, who ties the woman's finger tightly so it becomes numb, at which point he chops it off with an ax. The removed finger is either burned or kept in a special place since they believe that this way it will ward off evil spirits.

2. Tibet

Among the Buddhists in Tibet exists the belief that soul and flesh are 2 separate things, which is why it's pointless to keep a body when a person dies and the soul departs. Instead they chop up the body and leave it in an area where animals can spot it (usually at the top of a mountain). From the uneaten remains of the body, if such exist, they make a powder.

Tibetan Monks

3. Amazon Rainforest

According to the beliefs of the Amazonian Yanomami tribe, a dead person needs to be eaten in order for his soul to reach heaven. A local delicacy is also prepared from the bones of the dead - they are ground to powder, which is used in turn to make banana soup. This ritual is exceptionally dangerous to health and a great many members of the tribe fall ill to Kuru disease.

Amazon Rainforest

4. Philippines

The Sagada people from the Philippines believe that the deceased must be left in a quiet place in order for their soul to find its way to God. As a result they hang their dead from ropes up on cliffs.