The Most Unique Funeral Traditions From Around The World Revealed

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 19 Sep 2021 14:40
The Most Unique Funeral Traditions From Around The World RevealedAlamy

Everywhere has different ways to pay tribute to their deceased loved ones, and the likes of China, Tibet and South Korea have some extremely unique traditions.

Here in the UK, people are typically commemorated by holding a funeral, and/or a burial service, often followed by a wake where people come together to celebrate the person who passed away.


Meanwhile, Mexican families will hold a vigil that can last up to two days where they eat, drink and bring gifts to the bereaved family.

Funeral (Alamy)Alamy

Many people across the globe may choose to have their deceased family member or friend cremated, and will typically go on to then scatter the person’s ashes, or maybe keep them in an urn. However, in South Korea, some put the ashes into beads to then wear as a necklace.

This isn’t a fashion statement though; the idea came around in 2000 after the South Korean government required anyone burying their dead after that year to remove the grave 60 years after burial due to lack of space in the country’s cemeteries, Daily Star reports.


Over in Tibet, they have something known as a sky burial, where the deceased person is left on a mountain rooftop to decompose. This is to expose the person ‘to the elements’, or to be eaten by animals.

According to BBC Bitesize, this is supposed to be a ‘last act of generosity’ so that the person is left with no sins. Once this happens, the remains of the body are collected and burned.

Tibetan Buddhist cremation (Alamy)Alamy

Meanwhile, in Scandinavia, boats play a vital part in their burials. Following Nordic traditions, people are buried in a boat, but not set on water. This is because, as per the University of Southampton, ‘during prehistoric and medieval times in Scandinavia the boat was an indispensable object in everyday life.’ Because of this, it was accepted as ‘a sign and occurred in the spiritual culture as a manifestation of something.’


People would give grave offerings, before covering the deceased with stones and soil.

Then there’s China – a country where funerals with a high turnout is seen as a sign of respect to the person who has died. In a bid to encourage people to attend, apparently the family will hire strippers.

It was announced a couple of years ago that the Chinese Ministry of Culture was going to crack down on this unusual tradition, however. It created a special hotline for members of the public to call and report on instances of funeral strippers being used, in exchange for a monetary reward, Global Times reports.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Life, no-article-matching


Global Times and 3 others
  1. Global Times

    China vows to crack down on rural custom of hiring strippers for funerals

  2. Daily Star

    Funeral strippers and cigarette in lips: Unusual death customs observed around the world

  3. University of Southampton

    In this article, Esther Unterweger explains the importance of boat burials in Scandinavia.

  4. BBC Bitesize

    Practices in Buddhism