16 Grave Facts About the History of Coffins and Burial
16 Grave Facts About the History of Coffins and Burial

16 Grave Facts About the History of Coffins and Burial

Trista - October 4, 2018

16 Grave Facts About the History of Coffins and Burial
Day of the Dead costume. http://celebrationsoxford.co.uk/mexican-day-of-the-dead-sugar-skulls/763-day-of-the-dead-skull-rose-top-hat.html

14. Some People Celebrate Their Dead Instead of Mourning Them

Ancient tribes in Latin America, including the Aztecs and Toltecs, believed that the act of mourning those who had died was disrespectful; they were still present and should have their memories preserved. Enter Mexico’s Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 2 as a means of honoring, rather than mourning, those who have been lost. Altars are constructed in people’s homes, not for worship but for providing the dead spirits with things that they may need, such as food and water, as well as a candle and family photos. After all, the journey from the world of the dead to the world of the living can make you quite hungry and thirsty. Families that have lost children might also place toys on the altar.

Day of the Dead celebrations in Latin America are festive, social occasions. Parties are held in the streets and public squares all day long and well into the night. Symbols that many people might find macabre and disorienting, such as skulls, are used as molds to bake sweets and other treats for the celebrations. The effect is a different way of viewing death and grieving, and UNESCO feels that this is so momentous that it has made the Day of the Dead an official cultural heritage.

16 Grave Facts About the History of Coffins and Burial
Funeral pyre. jarabi / Pixabay

15. Some Indian Widows Are Still Expected to Die From Grief

In an era of feminism and unparalleled pushes for equal rights for women, there is much concern over the ancient practice of sati. In many parts of India, bodies are cremated on a funeral pyre according to local Hindu traditions. Sati is the practice of the widow throwing herself onto the flames so that she, too, dies with her husband.

The practice originated around the 1300s when Rajput women would commit suicide on a funeral pyre after their husbands were killed in battle. The method had a practical purpose: the women would rather die than be enslaved by their enemies. Over time, it evolved into a test of the wife’s devotion; she was expected to throw herself onto the pyre and burn to death in order to prove that she had been a good wife.

Fortunately, the practice of sati has been outlawed in India, and women are not even allowed to throw themselves onto their husbands’ funeral pyres voluntarily. However, reported cases still happen and sometimes receive high-profile attention. In remote villages that are more bound to local traditions than the central authorities, though, the practice may be much more prominent than believed.

16 Grave Facts About the History of Coffins and Burial
Capsula Mundi. Giacomo Bretzel https://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/03/world/eco-solutions-capsula-mundi/index.html

16. Your Body Can Nourish a Tree

Death has long been tied to religious beliefs, and there can easily be an argument made that much of today’s religion is consumerism. However, many people are actively and passionately eschewing that lifestyle in favor of something more simplistic and natural. The creators of the Capsula Mundi certainly have as they believe that death is as much commercialized today as is life. The expenses of coffins, funerals, and everything else make the process of ending one’s life yet another aspect of a consumerist lifestyle.

They wanted to give people a different option, one that is as minimalist and natural as possible. Enter the Capsula Mundi, an egg-shaped coffin made of biodegradable plastic. The coffin is buried underneath a tree sapling. As it degrades underground, the nutrients from the deceased’s corpse nourish the seedling and take on new life in the form of the growing tree.

In addition to providing a means for minimalist people to be buried according to their own “religion,” the Capsula Mundi is much more environmentally friendly. Traditional coffins pollute the ground and are not helpful to the process of decomposition. The Capsula Mundi enables people to leave a smaller carbon footprint in death and even give back to the earth.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“It Is Forbidden To Wear Clogs: Saving Energy Under Maria Theresa and Joseph II,” by Christina Linsboth. The World of the Habsburgs.

“Enon Chapel: London’s Victoria Golgotha,” by Carla Valentine. Order of the Good Death. June 30, 2014.

“Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, Where The Dead Are Left to the Vultures,” by Wu Mingren. December 6, 2019.

“Rites of Desecration: Suicide, Sacrilege, and the Crossroads,” by Mark Laskey. CVLT Nation. September 8, 2014.

“Plague Pits.” Wikipedia. March 1, 2018.

“The Bone Collector,” by Yu Sen-lun. Taipei Times. November 21, 2004.

“When Death Doesn’t Mean Goodbye,” by Amanda Bennett. National Geographic. March 2016.

“Frankenstein: Graveyards, Scientific Experiments, and Bodysnatchers,” by Ruth Richardson. The British Library online collections. May 15, 2014.

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley 2007

“Egyptian Mummies.” Smithsonian Institute online collection.

“A teenager’s funeral featured an ‘extreme embalming’ – and it’s more common than you might think,” by Kaila Hale-Stern. Insider. July 10, 2018.

“Top 10 Things to Know About the Day of the Dead,” by Logan Ward. National Geographic.

“India wife dies on husband’s pyre.” BBC News. August 22, 2006.

“The biodegradable burial pod that turns your body into a tree,” by Paula Erizanu. CNN. January 11, 2018.