Top Funerals In History
Who Got The Biggest Sendoff?
It may be morbid to ask who got the best funeral ever, and the subject may be relative to the participant's point of view. For example, the funeral of Genghis Khan included an elaborate burial which allegedly involved moving a river to entomb the Mongol emperor, after which every participant in the burial was murdered in order to prevent the divulging of the tomb's location. Cheops of Egypt (AKA Khufu) has had the grand prize for Top Tomb for over 4,500 years, which is saying a lot considering the technology needed to build a Great Pyramid out in the desert at the time. More recently, Hunter S. Thompson's funeral service involved a grand fireworks display where his cremated ashes were shot out of a cannon as part of the proceedings, which were sponsored by friend/impersonator Johnny Depp. Funerals in New Orleans (as fictionalized in the James Bond film Live and Let Die) are noted for their jazzy proceedings. More recently, in North Korea, the funeral of Kim Jong Il featured overzealous mourning and it has been reported that people who weren't enthusiastic enough about their greif ended up getting unusual sendoffs of their own. While some people note the Princess Diana funeral as "best" it is hard to classify such a thing here because her loss was tragic and untimely, so even though the proceedings had a world-class musician, best selling song, and a worldwide audience, it would not be fair to include it here. The same would be true for the Michael Jackson funeral, even though the event had an all-star cast.
Part of the impetus behind the "best funeral ever" should belong to the deceased, who had some kind of part in planning the nature of the ceremony. For example, many rock fans might have a KISS casket in storage somewhere so they can go out in style. Sports superfans have NFL licensed caskets ready to go. In a lot of cases, those with terminal illnesses actually plan out their services, and often hold the funeral before the untimely event, so they can have a party and say goodbye in person. The nature of death and funerary celebrations is part and parcel of humanity, and every culture has its own way of saying goodbye to the deceased. The Irish have wakes that rival the most boisterous fraternity pledge week. In India, it was commonplace for widows to throw themselves on funeral pyres in a practice known as Sati. Throughout history, slaves and wives were buried along with important officials to become servants in the afterlife. In China, funerary preparations took years, and included the creation of special household goods "for the perpetual use" of the decedent. Some of these wares took years to make and polish, even though they were meant to be buried. China's Imperial Tomb with terra-cotta warriors shows the detail and expense that are put into funerals, and similar preparations would cost millions (or billions) of dollars today. In closing, it might very well be that the best funeral ever is one where you are a spectator and not the main attraction.
Notes and Special Information
Special note: A word for the funeral homes and parlors: CPN has low rates on credit card processing for funeral homes, cremations, and parlor rentals. (Did you know that people get married at funeral parlors? Strange but true!) Independent morticians can save thousands on the cost of processing cards, which are now quite commonplace in paying for services.