Death as Celebration: Cross-Cultural Perspectives
Humans, like all other living organisms, are born and die. This is an incontrovertible and non-negotiable fact. However, because of their unique representational capacities, humans across the world imbue this fact with complex meanings, which transform the brute facts of biology. A recurrent feature of this transformation is to make death the beginning rather than the end of life. Through various processes of separation, purification and ‘distillation’ dead people are turned into forever lasting substance that gets recycled into new life. Death, in this way, is neither final nor a cause of despair. It can be a source of celebration.