Death & Disposing of the Body

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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi
December 19th 2015
Published: December 21st 2015
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I am forever interested in the traditions and customs around the world regarding the dead and always request a visit to a local cemetery

The dead, according to Vietnamese law, must be buried within 24 hours. The body is placed in a wooden coffin without embalming and buried in a shallow unmarked grave at a time that is designated by the local fortune teller, but never when the sun is shining. After the burial the family makes altar offerings and prays for the departed. The sons of the departed wear special white garments and a short biography of the deceased is recited. Altar offerings are made to honor the deceased on day 3, day 49, day 100, and on the one year anniversary. Depending on the region of Vietnam, decay of the body is more or less calculated based upon the weather and once again the local fortune teller advises the family it is time to exhume the original coffin and prepare the bones for their final resting spot. Male family members assisted by friends perform the work of digging up the coffin, and preparing a deep brick lined chamber. The body is removed from the wooden coffin,
Deep Red ClayDeep Red ClayDeep Red Clay

The coffin will be taken from the ground at the time designated by the local fortune teller
the bones are cleaned and placed in a ceramic coffin and buried in the ground where the final headstone or monument is erected to commemorate the deceased. Due to lack of space the sheer number of deaths that occur in the cities this ritual is now only practiced in the rural areas.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


They Leave the CoffinThey Leave the Coffin
They Leave the Coffin

The coffin is left, thrown aside like a broken toy, to be burned at a later time
Brick LayerBrick Layer
Brick Layer

The job is done by someone with skill
Mixing the CementMixing the Cement
Mixing the Cement

Working together to build the brick lined chamber
Digging is Hard WorkDigging is Hard Work
Digging is Hard Work

The manual labor, family and friends take turn
Take Your PickTake Your Pick
Take Your Pick

The Final Coffin Choices
Tea with My New FriendsTea with My New Friends
Tea with My New Friends

They offered us tea as they contemplated life

21st December 2015

What an elaborate way to bury their dead. Fortune teller and all. Looks like you are having a wonderful time. Ann
22nd December 2015

first thing I do when I get home from work is to check if there is any new blogs. I love reading about all of your adventures

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