11 Strange And Fantastic Death-Related Traditions From Around The World

Tree Burial

Tree burials were practiced by a number of populations around the world including certain Native American tribes and Aboriginal Australians. Groups from Australia would often leave the body to decompose in a tree for several months, then eventually retrieve the bones, paint them with red ochre and use them as the centerpiece of a funeral complete with dancing and a processional.

Tower of Silence

In the Zoroastrian religion, the bodies of the deceased are considered unclean and should not be buried or cremated so as not to pollute the elements. Instead, adherents traditionally built elevated structures called Towers of Silence on which corpses could be laid out and exposed for scavenging birds (much like in a sky burial). Some conservative Zoroastrians still use the Towers, though a rapidly declining vulture population in India and modern laws against ritual exposure in Iran, as well as changing attitudes among modern followers, mean that the practice is not common today.