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THE CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH
 

An Enduring Relationship
Death is a reality for all people, but the dead are treated differently from culture to culture. Americans no longer have the kind of direct and immediate relationship with death and the dead that their ancestors did. Hospitals, nursing homes, and mortuaries remove many of us from much of the reality of death. This distance between the living and the dead creates a barrier that makes us unfamiliar with what others find a sad but natural part of life itself. By contrast, death in many Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other cultures is recognized as an integral part of life. Enduring relationships persist with the dead.

Ancient Symbolism
As did the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Celts before them, many cultures today recognize the human cycle of life and death in the changing seasons. Springtime's birth of life is followed by death in winter, mirroring the human passage through life and beyond. In many ancient cultures the approach of winter was marked with festivals to celebrate the harvest and remember the dead. American Halloween and Mexican Day of the Dead are living traditions that reflect this ancient symbolism.



  DAY OF
THE DEAD
 
 
  HALLOWEEN  
   
  EGYPTIAN
MUMMY
 
 
INDONESIAN
RITUALS
AMERICAN
MEMORIALS