The early days of Western Society rituals included already cremation (Prothero, 2001; Bauschatz, 1982) or burial practices even during the ancient Rome. What was practice then in Ancient Rome was summoning of the eldest surviving male of the household to the deathbed, where he attempted to catch and inhale the last breath of the decedent. There rites performed then already included a public procession to the tomb where the body was to be cremated.
What was the remarkable thing about the processions was that the survivors wore masks with family’s deceased ancestors images but such to carry the masks in public was ultimately controlled and was limited to families know enough to have held curule magistracies (Wikipedia, 2007a). The hiring of dancers, musicians as well female mourners to participate in processions was already practiced then. With the lapse of nine days after disposing the body by burial or cream, a feast was given and a libation poured over the grave or the ashes.
Romans had practiced more cremations than burials thus they placed the ashes in an urn and placed in a niche in a collective tomb called a columbarium. A nine-day period before burial or cremation considered the house where the dead is placed as tainted and one would find cypress branches to caution by passers but after that period the house would be purged dead person’s spirit (Wikipedia, 2007a). 2) Eastern Society rituals e. g. early Muslim and Buddhist leading into the modem interpretation of these and other cultures.
The eastern society funeral rituals as by Muslims and Buddhist vary with as far as the practice of burials or cremations are concerned. While Muslims prohibit the use cremations by allow burials only Buddhist rites normally include cremation. (Answers. com, 2007) The first can be proved as my some Muslim countries like Indonesia in Southeast Asia while Buddhist rites could be proved by Japanese who made more of their funeral ritual under Buddhist rites and it is a fact that most Japanese are cremated (Wikipedia, 2007a). 3) Definition of ‘culture’
Culture may be defined as a totality of learned, socially transmitted behavior. It may refer to patterns of human activity and the representational structures that give such activity meaning and it represents the creation by actions of an individual, group or society of intellectual organisms and “could technology, art, science, as well as moral systems and the characteristic behaviors and habits of the selected intelligent entities. ” (Wikipedia, 2007b) It if certain groups of people practice funeral rites it could then be considered as culture (Derevenski, J. , 2000).
As to how funeral rituals are considered part of Western and Eastern cultures could be seen in how certain groups of people practice there rituals in their lifetime. As found earlier dividing the practice of funeral rituals between western and eastern cultures may not lead one to the appreciation of the distinction as borne by the fact that there are part of the Western Culture that practice both burial and cremations and the same is true with the eastern culture. This would be evident even in the following sections.