Death symbolism & beliefs

Convictions, morals, other societies and religions.
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Death symbolism & beliefs

Post by Heith »

I thought it would be interesting to discuss how different cultures arrange burials, have death symbolism or how it is believed that ancestors do or don't affect our lives.

In the Finno-ugric tradition, for example, it was customary that a family would have trees where important things were marked, such as births and deaths. Usually this was done on a pine tree, perhaps a question of durability.

Here is an example of a carving:


We also had a belief that ancestors resided in trees, from where they lived for so long as the tree lived. It was absolutely forbidden to harm these trees.
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Re: Death symbolism & beliefs

Post by Nokkonen »

Graveyards here in Alaska have been a bit of a culture shock for me. Instead of these beautiful grove-like gardens with old trees and flowers and hedges everywhere, the two in this city are just open lawns with boring little stones. And they aren't a big deal either. Nobody goes there to bring flowers or burn candles, and I wonder how many ancestors have been abandoned there when their descendants have moved away.

Death culture has more vitality when it's related to accidents. Sides of highways are practically lined with little memorial crosses for people who lost their lives in car accidents. When the events are fresh, those crosses have flowers and teddybears and little gifts for the dead, and when the tragedy fades they continue standing and rotting away as perpetual reminders for the living to drive safe. The official version of this is a traffic sign style sign that says "Please Drive safe in memory of N.N." and "Don't drink and drive in memory of N.N." (Those can be requested from the officials by families of victims.)

Then there are also "ghost bikes" that are bikes painted white and chained to sites where a bicyclist died in an accident and they are a new phenomenon that's quickly catching on. They, like roadside memorials, have a double-function as reminders of safety issues and of the people who lost their lives in accidents.
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Re: Death symbolism & beliefs

Post by LurkerOfAbyss »

In modern Ireland, my appeared "laidback" attitude towards Death often freaks my friends out, whether they consider themselves atheist or a lapsed Catholic, I feel my current Irish compatriots to be fearful of Death. I guess some would say I worship it, but I don't actively seek to break these cosmic chains while I've my goals still to achieve.

In ancient Ireland, those that have passed on have been marked relatively simply, either with an unadorned burial mound, some of these mounds still dot the landscape, others would have been similar to the marked tree but it would have been a stone with Ogham engraved into it. Sadly most of these are gone.
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