Funerals happen. People from all around the world have different ways of mourning their loved ones and this has given rise to all different kinds of ritualistic ways to say goodbye. Here in the United States, funeral expenses can simply involve the purchase of a casket and reserving the time for the funeral.
When my grandfather passed away, we also had a family gathering and a banquet style dinner as is traditional in our culture. Getting the flowers, arranging the banquet as well as the funeral procession are all expenses that one has to consider when organizing a funeral. And every culture around the world has their own customary way of seeing off the recently deceased.
Even here in the United States, we’ve developed our own cultural funeral rites, such as in New Orleans, where there is a Jazz influence. Bands play and mourners strike a balance between grief and celebration as they dance. And so, arranging a funeral in New Orleans would include the hiring of a band to play the sorrowful dirges and then the more upbeat jazz and the funeral progresses.
Many mediterranean cultures employ the use of professional mourners at their funerals. These are actual professionals who are hired to give a lament or eulogy at the funeral.
In eastern cultures, there are often ritualistic beads to be supplied to the mourners as spirit beads.
While some cultures have more unique rituals that simplify the funeral proceedings. The tibetan sky ritual is a belief that the spirit leaves the body and goes back to nature. And thus, they don’t believe in burying the deceased, but rather leave the body to the elements.
Ghanian funerals have become known for their expense. In Ghana, a funeral can stretch over several days. They involve highly customized funeral caskets with celebrations that involve food, drink, music, hiring disk jockeys and mourners. Funerals have become an entire industry in Ghana. The bodies of the deceased are stored until the appropriate time for the funeral procession. The storage itself can costs thousands and the length of the storage can be a sign of a family’s wealth. Then comes the celebration of the life, which can be so costly that families need to take out bank loans to cover the cost of the funeral.
Other cultures in Africa often practice expensive funeral rites to celebrate the life of the deceased. These costs can result in lavish funeral costs for the family. They can sometimes involve slaughtering livestock. And many times can cost upwards of 40% of the family income.
In Kenya, there is a significant number of families that have descended into poverty due to funeral costs.
In some Indonesian islands, the deceased is preserved and stays with the family for some period of time. Often they are propped at the dinner table to eat with family and friends as if they were still alive. The funeral rites involve professional mourners as well as ceremonies and sacrifices. These are often expensive affairs by the islander’s standards.
Cultures have many ways of mourning and celebrating the passing of a loved one. These can be as simple as the Tibetan sky ritual or as elaborate as a month long celebration in Ghana. There are many ways to express mourning and celebrate life. Many of these rituals can be expensive. It always pays to look ahead at some of your potential expenses in the case of a passing of a loved one.
There are companies that even offer insurance to cover funeral expenses in case you can’t afford the different costs associated with paying for a funeral ritual. For instance, you can look into getting funeral insurance with GIO to assist you in these eventualities.
The celebration of life is a joyous and fascinating affair. But it can also be costly. Depending on your culture’s manner of celebrating a life, you may want to look into getting funeral insurance to cover these expenses.