Rituals of Death and Remembrance

Susumu Shimazono and Margo Kitts

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199759996
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Rituals of Death and Remembrance

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This chapter reviews death rituals from ancient times to the present, but is limited to corpse treatments across traditions. It is shown that death may be a drawn-out process, wherein several death rituals precede the final one. Grave monuments have more purposes than simply salutation of the dead. The Catholic communities show a form of funerary behaviors, from gathering at wakes to the performative displays of professional mourners. The spread of cremation is the most notable modern change. Conceptions of death and the etiquette of remembrance meet in ceremonies linked with corpse disposal. Death rituals remain the locus for a variety of cultural themes, unique to particular historical, religious, and social exigencies.

Keywords: death rituals; corpse treatments; grave monuments; Catholic communities; funerary behaviors; cremation; remembrance

Article.  2405 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Comparative Religion

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