Cross-Cultural Guide to Death Rites from Selected Nations

Cross-Cultural Guide to Death Rites from Selected Nations

National Origin of Your Client/Family Rites When Death Occurs

Afghanistan (population 89% Muslim) Muslim rites: Body generally remains at home— cared for, washed, wrapped in white cloth Mullah often in attendance Friends and family visit Buried in 24 hours Ceremony held 2 days after burial and is followed by a meal

Albania (population 70% Muslim, 20% Orthodox, 10% Catholic)

Muslim rites

Algeria (population 99% Muslim) Muslim rites

Australia (population 76% Christian) Cremation and burial both practiced Grieving may be reserved—crying with no wailing

Bahrain (population 100% Muslim) Muslim rites

Bangladesh (population 83% Muslim, 16% Hindu, 1% other)

Muslim rites

Belize (population 90% Christian) Demonstrative in grief May have spectacular funerals

Burma (population 85% Buddhist) May prefer quality rather than quantity of life Dying person may be helped to recall past good deeds Cremation may be preferred

Cambodia Buddhist beliefs as discussed earlier

Kampuchea (population 95% Buddhist) White clothing worn during 3-month mourning period Some mourners shave their heads

Chad (population 44% Muslim) Muslim rites China (population 97% atheist and eclectic)

Initial burial in a coffin; after 7 years, body is exhumed and cremated, and the urn is reburied in a tomb

Cuba (population 85% Catholic) Family and friends stay with body through night Burial in 24 hours May have holy hour every night for 9 consecutive days


differences in expressions and that in some locations deaths are merely listed by the person’s name and in other locations the event of death evokes comments such as “sunrise . . . sunset” and “departed this life.” Table 6–6 is a guide to death rites from selected nations. Table 6–7 lists beliefs that people from dif- ferent religious backgrounds may have regarding death. Finally, Table 6–8 lists selected cultural traditions in after-death rituals and mourning.

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