Facts about death

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Death can be defined as the irreversible cessation of the organs in the body and the irreversible loss of personhood in the case of humans. The medical definition of death is the cardiopulmonary standard and the whole-brain standard.

Fact 1. In 2008, the leading causes of death were diseases of the heart, respiratory diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza, pneumonia, and suicide. These accounted for 76% of all deaths in the United States.

Fact 2.  In the United States, a death certificate should not show the cause of death as senescence, old age, infirmity, and advanced age as it is not useful for data collection in medical research.

Fact 3.   The World Factbook states the oldest mortality is 89 from Monaco and the lowest from Chad at 48.

Fact 4.  A traditional, Irish wake is a funeral ceremony in Ireland which is a watch over a recently deceased person from the time of death until the burial.

Fact 5.  The origin of the wake dates back to the Jewish custom of leaving the burial chamber of a deceased unsealed for three days before closing it. During this time, family members would visit the chambers.

Fact 6. The ancient Hindu practice of a widow immolating herself on her husband’s funeral pyre is called the Sati.

Fact 7. According to Islamic traditions, Muslims who die on a ship are to be kept onboard until reaching land and to be buried on land. If there is insufficient time to reach land, the body can be buried at sea but away from predators.

Fact 8.  Chinese burials are normally held  on hillsides due to the Feng Shui culture. The higher the hillside, the nearer to heaven the deceased will be. Family members are given red packets of money and white towels to wipe their faces.

Fact 9. The concept of ghost marriages is prevalent in Chinese culture where the ghost of dead women is married to the ghost of dead men. In Beijing, a ghost marriage was conducted where the dead woman’s family received 3,500 pounds from the dead groom’s family.

Fact 10. Ghost marriages are a 3,000-year-old Chinese custom practiced in Northern China. The belief is that the ghosts will no longer be lonely, and the family’s fortunes will be restored by such marriages.


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