Death Around The World
In Africans traditions elders gain new status through death, joining the ancestors who watch over their descendents, and the entire village. Mourning one persons death allows all members of the community to celebrate the connection with one another and with their collective past.
In Muslim nations,
death affirms faith in Allah. Islam teaches that the achievements, problems, and pleasures of this life are transitory, and short-lived; everyone should be mindful of, and ready for, death at any time. Therefore, caring for the dying is a holy reminder of mortality and of the happy life in the afterworld.
Among Buddhists, disease and death are among life’s inevitable sufferings, which brings enlightenment. The task of the dying individual is to gain insight from the experience, with a clear mind a calm acceptance. Family and friends help by preventing mind-altering medications or death-defying intervention.
Among Hindus & Sikhs, helping the dying to relinquish their ties to this world and prepare for the next is a particularly important obligation for the immediate family. A holy death is one that is welcomed by the dying person, who should be placed on the ground at the very last moment, chanting prayers and surrounded by family members who are also reciting sacred texts.
In the Jewish tradition, preparations for death are not emphasized because hope for life should be sustained. After death the body is buried the next day, un embalmed and in a plain wooden coffin, to emphasize that physical preservation is not possible. The family is expected to mourn at home for a week, & then to reduce their social activities for a year out of respect & memory.
Many Christians believe that death is not an end, but the beginning of eternity in heaven or hell and thus welcome or fear it. Particular customs such as preserving the body for bodily resurrection, or celebrating the passing with food and drink vary from place to place.
Epilogue: Death & Dying
Robert C. Gates
So be my passing.
My task accomplished and the long day done,
My wages taken, and in my heart
Some late lark singing,
Let me be gathered to the quiet west,
The sundown splendid and serene,
- William Ernest Henley