It is interesting how superstitions are something that occurs all over the world. Everyone knows a superstition or two unique to their culture, no matter where we come from.
Especially when it comes to funerals, Halloween is not the only thing associated with superstitions. There are several dos and don’ts when it comes to the rituals for burying the dead too.
Reading about the different superstitions that many cultures have about funerals is fascinating. Funeral superstitions from America to Europe, Asia and Africa are a unique experience shared by all for one simple reason. No matter where you come from, everyone celebrates certain memorable occasions in their lifetime.
Births, birthdays, weddings, honeymoons, and funerals are something everyone experiences. For that reason, superstitions tend to surround these occasions more so than any other. Here are the seven most common funeral superstitions from different cultures around the world:
Superstition: The Jewish believe in covering mirrors.
In the Jewish tradition, one rule that must be followed during a funeral is to cover all mirrors. This superstition is present in other cultures, too, although they may or may not adhere to this tradition as much in modern times.
At funeral homes, mirrors must be covered after the death has occurred and during pre and post-funeral observances and traditions. This superstition is based on the belief that one should focus on the mourning process, and a mirror could be distracting.
Other cultures believe mirrors should be covered so death won’t look upon you. Some cultures believe covering mirrors will prevent the spirit of the one who has died from appearing in the mirror. Yikes!
Superstition: Leave some food for the dead in Mexico.
In Mexican culture, they believe that once someone has died, family members must leave food on the graves of the departed. In Mexico, death is celebrated by the entire country on a special day called Dia De Los Muertos.
This superstition of leaving food on the graves of those who have died is rooted in the belief that the food will provide the nourishment these spirits need when they return from the spirit world.
Superstition: When in China, don’t wear red.
In China, it is very inappropriate to wear red to a funeral. That is because red is associated with joy and good luck. Therefore, it should only be worn on happy occasions, and a funeral is the one place you want to avoid this colour at all costs.
Superstition: Bury your dead in Africa away from cultivated lands.
Did you know that they believe burying the dead on cultivated land in Africa is bad luck? This superstitious belief says that burying the dead on cultivated land will only bring bad luck to the farmer, and his crops will cease to grow. So, if you want a fruitful harvest, it is best to bury the dead as far away as possible.
Superstition: Placing coins on the eyelids of the dead.
You’ve probably seen this superstition in movies a few times on TV, and it is a superstition that came from ancient Greece. Coins were put on the eyelids of those who had died to help them on their journey to Hades. To cross the River Styx, coins had to be given. Otherwise, the departed would not be able to journey into the afterlife. How interesting.
There is a version of this superstition practiced in the Philippines. Instead of placing the coins on the eyelids of the dead, coins are tossed in front of the funeral car. The coins are also supposed to help the deceased find their way into the afterlife.
Superstition #6: No stopping the hearse during a funeral.
In the United States, it is believed that if a hearse stops at a house on the way to a funeral, it is bad luck. That is because the house will experience a death in the family if the hearse stops in front of it.
In Africa, they believe that it is bad luck for the hearse to stop. It is said that should the hearse stop three times in a row while it is on its way to the funeral, the family members will experience three more deaths in a row.
Superstition #7: You shouldn’t transport dead loved ones in a car.
This superstition is something several cultures around the world believe in. It is bad luck to transport your dead loved ones in a car because it could lead to the death of another family member not too long after that. This is probably why hiring a hearse for a funeral is widely practiced. Not to mention the more practical approach since a hearse is built to carry a casket.