Describe the spectrum of death and dying rituals and practices across cultures. Why are death and dying rituals so significant?
Culture is important in every human being’s life since every culture unites its people from different backgrounds, especially those who share similar belief systems. Hence, when it comes to death and dying rituals, these practices vary between cultures since each group has different and unique opinions (Kalish, 2019). However, apart from cultural variance on death and death rituals, individual beliefs also matter since their views may vary with the commonality of cultural practice. Therefore, death and dying rituals across world cultures are mainly influenced by community traditions, personal beliefs, and religions. That is because each culture has designed ways of coping with death and provides the deceased with respectful dying rituals. For instance, most cultures in North America have incorporated particular contemporary dying and religious belief options. For example, most Native Americans have death ritual centers that help the deceased spirit leave the body, whereas most cultures use nature and seasons to guide their burial rituals (Applebury, 2022). As a result, one may find that some families may opt for eco-friendly burials like bio-urns, with others opting for traditional burials using a casket and cremation.
On the other hand, cultures in South American countries are more entitled to Catholicism, where they engage in a celebration of the deceased individual’s life. The funeral traditions in these countries involve a wake that incorporates the traditional catholic mass with these funerals involving all colorful and decorated artwork to resemble celebrations compared to a solemn event. For instance, in Columbia, when a child passes, the child is believed to become an angel, thus making the mourning period short since the family is comforted that the child is rightfully in heaven (Applebury, 2022). The death and dying rituals are important, especially in a healthcare setting. That is because most healthcare providers may not have full details of how different cultures handle death and dying cultures (Mughal & Evans, 2020). That way, healthcare providers need to ask the affected families about these rituals to help these families cope with the situation and provide a smooth transition after a patient dies.
Applebury, G. (March 13, 2022). Different Cultural Beliefs on Death and Dying Practices. Love to Know. https://dying.lovetoknow.com/death-cultures-around-world/different-cultural-beliefs-death-dying-practices
Kalish, R. (2019). Death and dying: Views from many cultures. Routledge.
Mughal, A., & Evans, C. (2020). Views and experiences of nurses in providing end-of-life care to patients in an ED context: a qualitative systematic review. Emergency Medicine Journal, 37(5), 265-272. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2018-208278