How Do Different Countries Around the World View Death?

Almost all people view death as the end of life. That’s a given. However, different cultures around the world have different opinions regarding what will happen next after a person dies. Aside from that, each country has certain practices when it comes to remembering and honoring the deceased. To give you a better view, here are a few different cultural beliefs and practices that center around death.


In Africa, many people think that death is not the end. Instead, they believe that the dead will continue to live in another realm. As such, the people in Africa don’t discuss dying plans or wishes. Usually, the loved ones of the dying person will make their end-of-life decisions.

When a person dies, a proper burial is done, and it can take place immediately or be delayed, depending on the tribe or community. Aside from that, several African communities believe that the deceased should also be properly buried so that he will not haunt his family and other people in his community.

North America

As mentioned, there are different cultural beliefs and practices regarding death. In North America, they honor the deceased in varying ways. For instance, the death rituals of the Native Americans focus on helping the dead, and they use nature to guide them throughout the burial process.

In Canada, they usually honor the deceased by having a wake, a funeral service, and then a burial. The same practices are also done in the United States. The difference is that a post-funeral gathering is common in the United States.

Countries like Cuba and Mexico are Catholic. As such, they typically include religious practices to celebrate and honor the deceased.

Generally, North American death rituals are morbid. Rather than celebrating the life of a loved one, people tend to mourn. Even though a funeral, in theory, is supposed to be a celebration of the deceased’s life, we have a hard time keeping our emotions in a positive state of mind, generally.


South America

Most South American countries include Catholic practices in their death rituals. Aside from that, they also focus on celebrating the life of the deceased. Usually, they hold a vigil and a Catholic mass to honor the dead. Plus, their funeral is typically colorful because they consider it a celebration instead of a solemn gathering or event. So, rather than holding onto the morbid mindsets as those in North America do, South Americans do a better job at truly celebrating someone who has passed away.

Some countries in South America have varying death rituals. In Peru, guests should chew some cocoa leaves because they believe that this practice will let them be with their dead family or loved ones. In Argentina, the deceased is usually buried right away, and the burial process is often more expensive than a wedding. There are glamorous cemeteries built up to look as if they are full cities throughout Argentina, and the monuments to the deceased families within are strikingly impressive.


A lot of Asian countries believe that there is life after death. Aside from that, the burial process in these countries often involves the family and community of the deceased. In Asia, they have different cultural beliefs and practices on death. An example is the Japanese death ritual, which combines Shinto traditions with Buddhist teachings. On the other hand, Hinduism influences the death rituals in India. As such, they focus on helping and guiding the deceased person so that he will be reincarnated. Finally, the death rituals in Pakistan are heavily influenced by Islam.


Because around 75% of Europeans are Christians, traditions and practices of this religion are often incorporated into their burial process. However, some communities have distinct traditions that make their funerals unique.

An example of this can be found in Germany. Many Germans believe that everyone is entitled to a proper and respectful burial. As such, there are laws for this to happen. On the other hand, secular funerals are typical in Albania. Aside from that, the funeral is often held in a gathering site or the home of the deceased. Also, they play folk music during the funeral.

All in all, the many cultures around the world view death in different ways. Some see it as the end. Others see it as a celebration of the next chapter of a soul. The more you travel, the more you can get a peak into the different cultures of the world and their particular beliefs on death.

Maria Dolores Garcia

Maria is a contributor who is passionate about health, fitness, and beauty. During her free time, she tries to discover the beauty hidden in the chaos of today's fast-paced way of life. With a background in health and medicine, she hopes to inspire you to start living a fun, active, and healthy lifestyle through her writing.

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