Uruguay's Cultural Approach to Death: Funerary Rituals and Religious Influence

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Hello class, my name is Felix, and today I'm presenting: Uruguay's vision of death.

Death is a topic of immense concern for humankind because it will sooner or later affect everyone. Often it comes very suddenly and unexpectedly and can therefore be very tragic; in other cases, it may simply be a relief. Every culture has a different way to approach and deal with death. What are the different funerary rituals, burial practices, and strategies for body disposal? Do all people belonging to a certain culture deal the same way with death and the funeral? How does religion influence a culture with death? These are questions that pique my interest, and for this investigation, I will mainly concentrate on the Uruguayan culture's view of death.

Firstly, every Uruguayan family is different in their thoughts and beliefs, and therefore not every family chooses the same type of funeral. Uruguayan burial arrangements are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, etc. But the most common procedure when a Uruguayan person dies is that relatives meet in the funeral home prior to the burial. Some of them escort the coffin to the cemetery. Mourners may dress in black for at least the day of the funeral to express their sorrow. After a funeral ceremony, the deceased is buried in a cemetery or, more commonly, placed in an above-ground niche or mausoleum. Between three and five years later, the coffin is exhumed, and the bones are placed in an urn, which is returned to the tomb.

Secondly, Uruguay is one of the most secular countries in Latin America. There is no official religion, church and state are strictly separated, and religious freedom is guaranteed. Although nearly 50 percent of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, less than half regularly attend services. Non-Catholic Christians make up about 10 percent, while over 20 percent are members of non-denominational churches. Less than 1 percent are Jewish. The rest of the population belongs to various other organizations or professes no religion at all. So even though Uruguay is not a Catholic country per se and the Roman Catholic religion is not practiced, it adapted its death customs and burying methods from Roman Catholic traditions.

In conclusion, it may be said that most Uruguayans have very similar death customs as they apply many different cultures from the same religion. Also, I realized that Uruguayan death customs are very similar to the ones of many other countries, including Austria. This shows that they mostly depend on a certain religion, and not culture.

Thank you for listening to my oral presentation.

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