I’ve always found rituals done around death to be fascinating. Since I was fairly young, I thought seriously about becoming a funeral director (aka. mortician) and so funerals in general are very interesting to me as well as burials.
In my story though… def depends on region and culture.
Suncerot is a rolling golden dessert which spans for hundreds of thousands of miles. Here is located the states of Azriel, ruled by an elected diarchy. Here, death is first announced through the ringing of three bells, each one signifying a specific goddess. The body is bathed and dressed by the family where they sing the death eulogies and give rites that allow them to pass untainted through the golden gates of ‘heaven’. Afterwards, the body is burned. During this time, no one is allowed to speak. There’s not really a mourning period after (not a traditionally defined one, anyone, the family still greives.)
Dormchett is… strange. It’s split into several different regions, all governed by their own elected ‘governor’. Depending on the religion, they celebrate death in different ways. Altogether, there are four. For shortness sakes, I’ll only mention the most interesting one. This particular group of people is the most ancient (in the world) and it’s actually amazing that their cultural traditions surrounding death haven’t changed (much) as the years have gone on, for better or for worse.
They start by announcing the death of whomever has died. Each family member is called to this big ‘main’ house where everyone in their religion/religion communes occasionally during special holidays and what-not. The dead is laid naked onto a golden slate. Each family member (only by blood) then slits their hand and pours a little bit into this golden cup. Once done, the cup is then used to pour the blood into the dead person’s mouth. The reasoning for this is complicated, but basically, they believe that if you’re special enough you can come back to life. If this does not work, then they all pray around it for three days and three nights, all while fasting. Once this is complete, they take the body, carry it wayyyy outside to this specific field meant for the dead and they chuck the body into the field, leaving it naked. This is to give back to nature. They don’t believe in burying or burning, just straight up letting the earth absorb whoever has died, And, admittedly, it’s done with a lot more graceful ceremony and tears.
In Panavora, people have a strange belief that death is the only way to find complete peace and equality. So, why it’s sad and somber, it’s generally seen as a good thing. They believe that, after you die, they ascend to the Father God’s side. The Father God is also the God of truth, so they believe that in death you gain full awareness, insight, and truth into your life, being, creation, etc. and therefore you obtain true ‘purity’ and understanding. “To know death is to know truth”.
They also have this thing where, when a babe is born, the mother (or next woman in line, if not her, then a maid lol) is supposed to knit them a cord of intertwining fabric. Once that person dies, the cord is tied around the wrist.
The body is taken out of the home and prepared for burial by a doctor. All organs are removed during this time, and the person is stuffed with fluffy white sand. It used to be straight up dirt, but they discovered sand is purer, and yada yada. Anyway, once this is over, they’re given a proper bath, hair styled and cut, and they are dressed in pretty long elegant robes which signify both their house, religion, and current ruling Czar.
Afterwards, the body is laid in a casket and buried. Flowers are sometimes planted around the gravesite, but most deaths occur in winter, so when that happens, they lay stones.
And that’s it, haha!
If you’re looking to research more into different cultures and their burial practices, would highly recommend the Egyptians, the Aztecs, and prone burials. Seriously, they’re cool and there’s so many different reasons why a burial would be that way. I could nerd out about it all day, haha.
Sorry for such a long post!
Also, question: How does lifespans impact the way that your world experiences religion and death? I’d honestly assume they’d take death harder because it’s a bit rarer, considering how long they live. But I also think it makes sense if they do celebrate it–sort of like the fae in Celt legend. They didn’t really die, but when it was time to go they, like, evaporated or some other type of magical stuff.