14 Bizarre Death Rituals From Around the World

When it comes to bizarre death rituals, these traditions take the list. From Hindu to Jewish death rituals, there are millions of ways to mourn the dead, and the ones on this list are certainly the most unique. Russians will often leave out black bread and shots of vodka for the dead person to eat and drink on a spiritual level. When it comes to food for the Yanomami tribe, they used to eat dead bodies mixed into a banana-based soup.
This list of weird funeral traditions takes us on a journey from Tibet, where corpses are laid out to be eaten by vultures, to Madagascar, where people would re-wrap their ancestors' bodies in fresh cloth before dancing around with their tombs. Meanwhile, men and women in Ghana are building fantasy coffins in the shape of food, and the ancient Bo people of China would hang their coffins from giant cliffs. Enjoy the craziest ways to mourn and celebrate the deceased in this list of bizarre death rituals from around the world.

  • Aseki Smoked Bodies

    In the Menyama region of Papua New Guinea, these red corpses hanging on a cliff is a death ritual that preserves bodies. The locals smoke them, string them up, and hang them on a cliff face. This way, the bodies can look down and protect the village below.
  • Endocannibalism

    Photo: flickr / CC0
    In the Amazon rainforest, the Yanomami tribe prepare a corpse for eating so that the soul can go to Paradise. When a loved one dies, they wrap the corpse in leaves and allow bugs to indulge. A little over a month later, the bones are made into a banana soup for everyone, and a little over a year later, the ashes are mixed with plantain soup.
  • Tibetan Buddhist Sky Burials

    Tibetan Buddhist Sky Burials
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    In Sichuan, a man prepares another man for sky burial, a primarily Tibetan ritual in which a dead body is taken to the top of a mountain to be eaten by vultures. Mongols and TIbetans, who often do these sky burials, are adhering to the Vajrayana Buddhist belief that, after death, the body is just an empty vessel that doesn't need to be preserved. Hence, it's for the birds.
  • Bo Suspended Burials

    About four centuries ago, the Bo people of China's Sichuan province hung these wooden tombs from the cliffs. It is unknown whether the intention for these suspended burials was to keep the coffin out of reach from animals or to be within reach of the gods. An ancient death ritual, these tombs are approaching 3,000 years old.