Burial Rites and Customs

Posted by Moira Marsh, Librarian for Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Folklore, Sociology, and Telecommunications

The burial rites and customs of one people often seem bizarre and sometimes even grotesque to another. From the Tibetan practice of sky burial, to Japanese tree burials, to mummification, embalming, and mortuarycannibalism, each culture practices certain traditions to memorialize and honor the dead in a manner consistent with its belief system. The study of these traditions dips heavily into the fields of anthropology, archaeology, sociology, and folklore, among others, and helps establish a firmer understanding of the belief structures of peoples across time and place.

Interested in learning more? Stop by the display case on the 7th floor of Herman B Wells Library and discover a number of fascinating titles on the subject, offering a variety of perspectives of the funereal practices of cultures across the globe. Don’t have time to visit in person? Access a list of IUCAT titles available to you online instead!