Mankind’s history of burial practices and funeral customs are as old as civilization itself. There is no specific way to planning a funeral. Every civilization and culture has provided for their dead in different ways. Religion and personal beliefs play an important role in the burial practices and funeral customs of a given culture or civilization. Furthermore, each civilization and cultured ever studied have three things in common: some type of funeral rites, rituals, and ceremonies; A sacred place for the dead; and memorialization of the dead. As far back as the time of Christ, burials have been noted to take place. In time burial and funeral customs have become very distinct, interesting and
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The ancient Egyptians believed in life after death or immortality. Thus, they had elaborate burial rituals and steps that they believed were necessary to ensure continuation of their life after death. According to ancient Egyptian religion, keeping the body of an individual intact after death was necessary so that the various aspects of the soul would have a place to live after death. The basic process involved laying the body on a flat board, and cutting a slit in the abdomen. Then the body would be washed inside and out with palm wine. The lungs, liver, intestines, and the stomach were removed, mummified separately, and put into canopic jars. The heart was left intact. The brain would be removed by breaking the thin bone separating the nasal and cranial cavities. The body was then placed in natron for about forty days in order to dehydrate the remains. Finally, the mummy was then wrapped in many layers of linen strips, about 1200 yards of 3 1/4 inch bandage was used to wrap the body. Gum or glue held the cloth together. The body was then placed in a sarcophagus and returned to the family.
Similarly, Ancient Ethiopian tribes preserved their dead in a manner much like the Egyptians. Babylonians, Persians, and Syrians preserved their dead by placing them in jars of honey or wax. Decomposition was prevented by depriving the bacteria in the body of air. The Greeks believed that the deceased must make a journey