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Saturday, 14 March 2015


At funerals in ancient China, when the lid of the coffin was closed, mourners took a few steps backward lest their shadows get caught in the box.

For the ancients, the burial of the fallen in the aftermath of battle was an important factor in army morale. The historian, Livy , related the story of Philip V of Macedonia (238-179 BC) who gave a number of fallen cavalrymen a public funeral in the hope that this would make his army more amenable to fight.

The Greeks, Egyptians and Romans used celery in funerals where it was made into garlands.

When Jewish people wanted to express their sympathy at the death of someone they loved, they didn't send flowers or wreaths to the funeral, but instead they had glass bottles, about four inches high, which they would hold under their eyes and weep into. They would then send the bottle of tears to the bereaved relatives as an expression of sympathy.

In parts of medieval Europe, it was customary to let bread dough rise on a dead person's chest, then serve the baked bread at their funeral.

The 1700s American businessman Lord Timothy Dexter faked his own death, but after attending his own funeral and not seeing his wife cry, revealed himself and caned her for not grieving hard enough.

A motorized hearse was used at a funeral for the first time on April 14, 1901, for one of the employees of the Daimler factory in Coventry, England.

1907 Hearse.

Martha Wise (1884–1971) was an American woman who confessed to poisoning seventeen family members with arsenic, killing three, in 1924. She was convicted of one of the murders. Wise said she poisoned them because she was irresistibly drawn to funerals and there weren't enough in her town.

The funeral scene in Richard Attenborough’s 1982 movie Gandhi lasted just 125 seconds but involved more than 300,000 extras to play the mourners.

The Queen Mother once turned up unannounced to watch a top-secret rehearsal of her own funeral.

A robot that can be hired to recite funeral rites was unveiled in 2017 at Tokyo’s Life Ending Funeral Expo.

The Arlington Ladies are a group of volunteers that attend funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery to ensure that no Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Coast Guardsman is buried alone.

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