Interesting Funeral Traditions Across the World

Every culture has some form of funeral rites and traditions, many are similar; relatives and friends gathering in a church or place of worship to pay their respects and offer support for loved ones, but some that take place are a bit more out of the ordinary. We take a look at some of the most inspiring traditions across the world.

Fantasy Coffin

In Ghana, many people like to be buried in a coffin shaped into something representative of their life. For example pilots may choose to be buried in a coffin shaped like a plane, or fisherman may have a fish shaped coffin, or even a chilli pepper! This tradition really puts the fun in funeral.

Jazz Burials

New Orleans culture is synonymous with Jazz. It’s no surprise then that there is a tradition where funeral processions make their way through the streets accompanied by a big horn band, beginning with sad tunes and progressing to more upbeat jazz and blues songs whilst mourners and dancers follow on.


Meaning “dancing with the dead” in the Madagascan language, the malagasy people open the tombs of their dead and wrapped in fresh cloth following a lively celebration involving music and a feast where the living dance with their dead ancestors. The ceremony is based on the belief that the deceased do not join the afterlife until their bodies are fully decomposed and are able to communicate with the living in the meantime.

Smoked Mummies – Papua New Guinea

The anga people in Papa New Guinea perform a funeral tradition that involves smoke-curing the bodies of the dead similar to salmon or beef jerky. The deceased are mummified and suspended in bamboo cages from clifftops above villages. This ancient tradition is a way to show high respect for the departed, but it is not commonly still practiced today. 

Space Burial

American company Celestis carried out its first memorial spaceflight in 1997, where the partially cremated remains of 24 individuals were sent into orbit, including Gene Roddenberry (the creator of Star Trek) and 1960s countercultural icon Timothy Leary. How would you feel about blasting off into space in place of a funeral or cremation?
In each culture, the process of acknowledging the death of a loved one looks slightly different, but all traditions have a similar message, honouring the life of a loved one and offering support for loved ones.

Taunton Funeral Services: Funeral Care & Planning

If you require the support of our friendly team with anything related to a funeral, we can help. With many years of experience in the funeral industry, we can assist you with all aspects of the service, whether it’s complete funeral planning, or offering support and advice. Give us a call today for more information.