Throughout history, human societies have practised their own rituals around death. The form they take may vary, but underlying them is often a common theme of providing a coping mechanism for those left behind. Our rituals of the dead honour the departed, yet they also help the living to bear their grief and to keep on going; an essential thing for any society, hence their prevalence around the world.
Our panel includes zoologist and author of ‘Death on Earth’ Jules Howard. He’s joined by Allan Kellehear, whose books include ‘A Social History of Dying’; and Satish Modi, whose book ‘In Love With Death’ makes the case for why we must all come to accept our own passing. Together, they’ll delve into rituals of the dead and discuss the beliefs that underpin them. They’ll also consider how well we might be equipped to confront our mortality now that we’re losing many of our ancient rituals; as we become a more secular society and abandon the comforts religion offers in the face of death, are we denying ourselves something that we fundamentally need?