In detail

The concept of death in different cultures and religions

The concept of death in different cultures and religions

For the Western culture, the issue of death is more complicated, because it encourages the concept of holding on, of growing up with the idea of ​​“forever”, of not talking about death, which makes it difficult to “lead” health duels .

In other cultures, since childhood, the theme of death is so present in rites, in life itself, that it is understood to be part of it and is perfectly integrated. We are born, we grow and we die. It is normalized and accepted.


  • 1 Mexico
  • 2 Africa
  • 3 Buddhism
  • 4 Hinduism
  • 5 Tibet


Mexican society came into violent contact with 16th-century Christianity, and Catholicism prevailed by replacing what before its conquerors were its deities. In 16th-century Mexico, native symbols combined without remedy with Catholics.

A good example of this is Mexican Day of the Dead. Archeology has helped to know that the practice of giving and that the dead did not leave alone (but with food, weapons and wealth), was common for thousands of years in different pre-Hispanic societies.

Day of the Dead, Mexico

Offerings and altars (called Altar de Muertos) are very frequent, and that day (known in Spain as Day of the Dead, on November 1 and in the Aztec calendar celebrated in July-August), in Mexico it is celebrated in a very different way. The day is a whole party in the country and they are held

Incredibly artistic Altars de Muertos throughout all areas of Mexico.


The Lumbalú referred to both the songs of the dead and the rite of passage. In Lumbalú sings, cries, dances frantically and praises the dead, who is present. The candle lasts 9 days, and the most important is the last. In Lumbalú everything radiates Africanity. If the dead person is honored with this rite, he manages to cross that border into the world of the dead and does not stay in the family home.

Lumbalú maintains as its main idea solidarity and community identity. These types of rites of passage or transition vary from one culture to another, but serve the same: to strengthen group ties.

And is that societies are also reinforced in life thanks to death, a vital experience that, although many find it difficult to accept, is inevitable and necessary.

Lumbalú Africa

In general, and above all in our culture, the western one, we have not been prepared since childhood for death, for losses, we are educated in the attachment culture, and death is considered something taboo, little is said, it is avoided, it is always surrounded by fear.


In Eastern cultures that practice Buddhism, life does not end with death. The person is reincarnated in another life and must learn in each life, lessons to improve until they become a pure spiritual being, which has been perfected through these different lives.

According to the Buddhist view, life is eternal. Since it goes through successive incarnations, death is not considered both the cessation of an existence and the beginning of a new one. For Buddhists the phenomenon of transmigration is obvious, so death is necessary..


As we die, we can appreciate the wonder of life. To talk about the ideal way to die you have to talk about the ideal way to live. Crossing the death process satisfactorily depends on the constant efforts made during life to accumulate good causes, to contribute to the happiness of others and to strengthen the foundation of goodness and humanity in the deepest of our lives. Buddhism guarantees that those who practice with sincerity, will approach death in a state of full satisfaction.


The concern of the Hindu is not death. For him, this is not the enemy. Since his birth, death for him is not a term. He will be reborn in another place and the important thing is to interrupt the chain of rebirths. Always, he belongs to eternity. He is a manifestation of the divine. From the moment he was born, he is a strange being to the world. It already has a preexistence, it has already existed in some way, and when he disappears, there is no passage from being to nothing.

If the westerner goes after immortality and wishes to avoid the death that distresses him, the Hindu instead seeks to free himself from life, escape to terrestrial existence.

He considers his social existence, historical, as denial of being, and his goal is to renounce it. Existence is for him the absence of reality and non-affirmation of what is and becomes.

In the religious thought of Hinduism, death consists in the union of the individual soul with the Universal soul, so it is believed that death dies not to another life like the one we know on Earth, but to another form of existence, That is essentially spiritual.


According to Hinduism, each person lives many lives throughout their existence. This eternal cycle of reincarnations is called "samsara." When one dies, his soul is reborn, reincarnated, in another body. What happens in each life is the result of previous lives. That is, one will reincarnate in a good body if in his previous life he has behaved according to his duty in life or "dharma." If they are good, they will be reincarnated in a superior way of life. What one does well, makes him good and what he does bad, makes him bad.


Among Tibetans, their attitudes towards death and agony are devoid of the general taboo we find in the West. There they meet death with respect and veneration. Y the existence of death becomes a stimulant for the development of man. This growth is underlined throughout life, and especially when the person is dying.


A basic principle of the Buddhist system - which permeates the life of Tibetans - is the transitory nature and constant change of the entire universe. There the existence of death is used as an indispensable psychological element for the awareness of the transitory nature of life, of the change of all things and of the precious value of this moment, the here and now.

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