Funerals

Funerals

There are two popular forms of funerals in Southeast Asia: burial and cremation. Burial is practised by followers of Animism, Mahayana Buddhism, Islam and Catholicism. Originally, the dead were buried in stone coffins and jars, in bronze drums, or wrapped in bark. Later wooden coffins became popular. The deceased was wrapped in cloth and retained in the house for a time, depending on local custom and families' condition, before being buried with their belongings, or at least, with money and rice for the other world.

Cremation is practised by followers of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Hindu in Bali. Fragrant wood is normally used. Now in many places wood is replaced by gas. After cremation, the bones are gathered, washed with fragrant water and placed in an urn. The urn is then buried or stored in a pagoda. In some areas, the ashes are scattered in the forests, rivers or the sea.

A second funeral is also widespread among several ethnic groups in Southeast Asia.


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