The majority of people in the Western world plan on being buried or cremated when their earth life will come to an end. However, if you think that everyone has always done that, you must read this post and get ready to be surprised. Traditions that nowadays may seem “weird” were the norm in the past.
In Çatalhöyük, the dead were buried under houses
In the ancient city of Çatalhöyük (Turkey) – 9000 years ago one of the world largest settlements – people used to bury their beloved under their houses. An attempt not to separate themselves from their ancestors: emotionally but also physically. Often times bodies were buried around the village. Bodies were flexed into woven baskets, and wrapped reed mats.
Somehow the same logic stands behind the ancient tradition of co-burial. In ancient China and Egypt relatives, wives or slaves were killed and buried with the dead person. Animals as well as precious objects were also buried with the deceased.
Mummification in ancient Egypt
In ancient Egypt – as it is known – mummification of the body was a common practice. The brain and internal organs were removed, cavities were packed with spices and finally the body was wrapped in clean strips of linen.
The grave in itself played a fundamental role in the burial process, too. Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs while in the western world kings, queens and important personalities had their tombs in magniloquent churches.
Iron Nails to Prevent the Dead From Rising in Greece
Another important aspect to be considered in this discussion is the feeling of fear traditionally associated with death and generated by the unknown of the after death. Thus, the return of the soul and the fear of ghosts has always influenced burial rites.
In some parts of ancient Greece people used to put iron nails across the dead bodies to prevent an eventual undesired resurrection. There are legends about preventing the undead being unable to rise from rising if they have been pierced by nails.
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