‘Danse Macabre’: The Medieval Dance of Death

The Danse Macabre consists of the dead or a personification of death with dancing along to the graves. Introduction The Danse Macabre, also called the Dance of Death, is an artistic genre of allegory of the Late Middle Ages on the universality of death: no matter one’s station in life, the Danse Macabre unites all.[…]

Modeling Grief: The Death of Children in Historical Perspective

Ancient writers who crafted these accounts sought to create a fellowship of grief between their communities. I remember the afternoon my brother died in vivid detail: the chill of the afternoon, the bustle of doctors throughout the house, the sound of the ambulance – and the silence that followed. That silence stretched interminably, it seemed[…]

An Indonesian Island Where the Dead Live with Their Loved Ones

“It is our Torajan culture. It is what we do.” By Tommy Trenchard and Aurélie Marrier d’Unienville As a host, 90-year-old Alfrida Lantong is somewhat passive. Lying resolutely on her back and gazing up through a pair of thick, dusty spectacles, she roundly ignores her son’s murmured greeting as he enters the room, and she[…]

From Mummification to ‘Sky Burials’: Why We Need Death Rituals

Death rituals help us to cope with loss and perhaps even feelings of guilt associated with disposing of a corpse. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Few liturgical phrases from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer are so familiar to so many, even those who have never darkened the doors of a church. This part of the[…]