This also reminds me of a childhood memory that I just remembered of being in a taxi with my family and looking out at the street stalls and seeing one filled with beautiful, intricate coffins, I just remembered that they glittered and sparkled and were colorful. A time you regret not having a camera.
I find it also interesting that Thai funerals are also described to be celebrations of the person's life. This reminds me of the Day of the Dead's events which I'm learning more about. I haven't been to many American funerals, but I find them much more filled with sadness and a lot of crying. Actually, now that I think more about it learning about different cultures' takes on death and funerals is pretty inspiring. So is thinking about how flowers play a part in a lot of funerals. Burial vs. cremation. I know people are very picky about where they end up and what container they're in. I personally have always been an advocate of cremation because if you think about the amount of space burial grounds take up... especially in the US alone because I don't know a lot of people who would get cremated....anyway back to space, I just think it would be better because people die everyday and I'm sure a lot of them are getting gravestones, and rarely does anyone want to build on top of dead people, and that's creepy anyway I mean I'm not really superstitious, but I like to believe that all dead should be respected.
However, my original point was that after hearing about how some cremation services don't do there job, it was a little disturbing. For example, that one home in GA, and also the snippet in http://absolutelybangkok.com/thai-coffin-ritual-for-living, about how there are so any unclaimed individuals, and the mass cremation, etc..
Anyway, this is getting a little morose, but soon you all will see why I am doing this research.
Ending my notes with the thought that I am on the side of celebrating one's wonderful life, even after it is over.
From Wikipedia: "Traditionally funerals last for a week. Crying is discouraged during the funeral, so as not to worry the spirit of the deceased. Many activities surrounding the funeral are intended to make merit for the deceased. Copies of Buddhist scriptures may be printed and distributed in the name of the deceased, and gifts are usually given to a local temple. Monks are invited to chant prayers that are intended to provide merit for the deceased, as well as to provide protection against the possibility of the dead relative returning as a malicious spirit. A picture of the deceased from his/her best days will often be displayed next to the coffin. Often, a thread is connected to the corpse or coffin which is held by the chanting monks during their recitation; this thread is intended to transfer the merit of the monks' recitation to the deceased. The corpse is cremated, and the urn with the ash is usually kept in a chedi in the local temple. The Chinese minority however bury the deceased."