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Cultural Implications of Death
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Death is a guarantee for each and every organism that lives, as it is inevitable no matter the form of ones life. Death does not regard religion or even culture, and thus, it is the final passage of life. Many people live in fear of death due to the knowledge that death is a must, and there is no known way to prevent it from happening. Death can therefore, be said to be the permanent end of life functions in all living organisms, where the physical segment movements ceases to function. Different people and cultures view death differently, and thus it is not possible to define death as the final end if lives, as there are different perspectives of defining it by different cultures. There are various cultures that view death to be a transformation to other forms of life, others conceive death as a pattern of multiple deaths and a rebirth, others propose that there is a continuous interaction between the dead and the living, and others believe that this is he final and end of life without further continuation. The different conceptions regarding death influences the lifestyles in readiness to: die for a cause, the degree to which death is feared and prepared for, and expressions of grief after a loved one die (Gire, 2002).
The multicultural diversity exhibits varying perceptions of death, whose influence to a larger extent is by religion. The different rituals performed vary depending on the cultural and religious beliefs, and the intensity of grief and duration depends on the culture beliefs. There is a greater outward expression of grief in comparison to different cultural groups and religions. Studies have shown that, Mexicans have great intensity compared to other cultures due to sudden death of a loved one than any other Latin American culture. It is through faith and hope that is relied on to coe with the impending death, as depressive symptoms are witnessed more to Mexicans families. Mexican culture usually practice voodoo known as Curanderismo where the Santeria death rituals are governed by saints as told by santero with an inclusion of animal sacrifice. The Mexican are said to have more understanding to death and its acceptance due to their country being mostly rural poverty and religion. The Mexican culture portrays death in their art, sculpture and their children are trained early to accept death and be familiar with it (Lobar, Youngblut, & Dorothy, 2006).
The expression `of grief varies widely in relation to the cause of death, as unexpected loss of a loved one causes more emotional grief than death due to terminal illness. It has been detrimental for the Hispanic to know the seriousness of illness, as they perceive it to ease the unnecessary pain to the family. This is usually in contrast to other cultures that hold mistrust to the illness case such as the black Americans especially due to the end of life care.
The rituals performed in celebration of death also vary widely in reference to culture and religion. Most of Latin death rituals are influenced by the religion belief mainly the catholic belief, as it is perceived to be spiritually binding to continue relations between the living and the dead through prayers and grave visits. The Latin’s express grief through open wailing by women, but men have to act according to machismo; a belief to act strong in spirit with no display of emotions. Burial is the most preferred mode of sending the loved ones to rest rather than cremations, where there is a mass for the deceased and lighting of candles (Kuchinsky, 2007).
The diversity of the black society has seen a variety of rituals which is perceived in respect to the diversity in religion, education, geographic and economic well being. The expression of emotion among the blacks varies, as there are expressions where women wails loud, while others is a matter of silence. The large gathering signifies last respect to the deceased as common belief, but three is a custom of having the body of the deceased to stay in the house before the funeral day (Lobar, Youngblut, & Dorothy, 2006). Family and friend usually gather to the house of the deceased to offer help of any manner, while the church ‘nurses’ help in the viewing of the body. The escorting of the casket is done by women as ‘flower girls’ with special attention to the family. The black communities have strong beliefs where they perceive death as a reflection of God’s will and plans, and a belief that the deceased is in God‘s care awaiting reunion in heaven after death. The grieving of the black community is seen as maintenance of connection with the dead. The bereaved family in black community usually seeks clergy’s help more than the help of health care professionals. There is a belief that the place for redemption is heaven, which is described to be a beautiful place where resurrection will take place (Lobar, Youngblut, & Dorothy, 2006).
The Asian culture has a diverse difference in relation to other parts of the world due to the religious influence and cultural beliefs. The death of a child is deeply mourned in this culture, where the family` members wear white robes for a period of time. The norm of making the soul to pass to the afterlife is the tradition of funeral ceremonies. The sadness and grief in this Asian culture is expressed as somatic complains, where mental illness is a family disgrace (Nasp, 2003).
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