Norse and Christians Burial PracticesJohn Beaudoin
The Norse, like many other cultures, buried their dead with goods that they could use when they enter the afterlife, Valhalla. Those that had a profession, would be buried with tools that they would have used in life.
There is a detailed account of a Funeral by Arab Muslim, Ahmad ibn Fadlan. It tells the story of a chieftains funeral. He was cremated on a ship along with his favorite servant girl.
Continuing with cremation, it was rather common to burn the corpse and several funeral goods on a pyre, and it would reach 1,400 C (2,550 F). The pyres were constructed in a way to allow the smoke to rise much higher than usual. This was a symbol of carrying the spirit to the afterlife.
Thralls were sacrificed so that they may be with their masters in the afterlife. Occasionally, the widow would be sacrificed to be with her husband.
On the seventh day after someone died, people celebrated sjaund . This was a feast that involved drinking funeral ale. Only after drinking the ale that the heirs could rightfully claim their inheritance.
For the Early Christians, the family of those who died would hire wailers and instrumentalists.
Catacombs were places where Christians would be able to secretly bury their dead away from the Romans. They were originally used as sewage paths under the city but were abondoned.
Relics were a way for Early Christians to become more connected to the saints. Eventually people began to claim they had a relic of a saint but there was no way to verify this. Because of this, all relics must pass through the Vatican.
At St. Peter's Basilica, hundreds of thousands of Christians visit a year, but only a few know that it is built on top of a 4th century burial place
Prior to the Second Vatican Council, many church's had paintings or statues of the dead. However, churches built after the council have fewer statues of paintings as the council stated that only God may be worshipped but the saints and Mary may be venerated.