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Cultural Spotlight: Palaun Funeral Traditions

by | May 24, 2019 | Cultural Spotlight, For Families

ocean fish

Here in America and in most of Canada, we have funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries.

But our traditions are vastly different from those in other countries and cultures.

This article looks at Palaun funeral traditions and is part of a series that highlights how different cultures care for their dead. Other parts of the series are about Myanmarese funeral traditions and Game of Thrones funeral traditions, among others.

Note, these traditions may vary depending on the individual and their own beliefs.

Palaun Background

Palau is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. The Palaun people have a connection to the sea and harvest fish for food. Roman Catholicism is the most common religion in Palau with about 65% of the population. For this reason, a Palaun funeral typically follows this religion’s customs, in addition to some traditional Palaun beliefs.

Palaun Funeral Planning

A Palaun funeral is an important ritual to honor the dead. It also serves as a gathering time for family members who may not see each other often. Typically, the oldest female family members organize the funeral plans, and the family settles any of the deceased’s debts. If a woman’s husband dies, she and her children return to her birth home.

Palaun Funeral Customs

At significant ceremonies like funerals, there is chanting and dancing with “fluid and unhurried” motions. For the burial, it’s typically at a cemetery or some people still bury the deceased in the stone platform of the family’s house.


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