As the Qingming Festival approaches, amidst the unusually erratic weather, we have the opportunity to reunite with family members, engaging in tomb-sweeping and ancestral worship together. This not only expresses our remembrance for our departed ancestors but also strengthens the bond among family members through shared activities. Today, let's take this opportunity to contemplate.

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Some of JOTO's longtime friends may know that one of my university degrees is in anthropology, a discipline that explores human culture. Through reading ethnographies across different cultures, we're trained to offer professional opinions on culture. Anthropology encompasses several aspects of exploring human culture: cultural anthropology, evolutionary anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics.

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Through the records of archaeology and ethnography, I can share with you that across the world, early humans developed special treatment for the deceased, whether it's ancestral worship or not. Different cultures seem to have developed unique cultural phenomena surrounding the deceased, as evidenced by burial methods such as flexed burial, indoor burial, or even sky burial. Each method implies cultural concepts about the afterlife.

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Archaeologists try to infer past human cultural lifestyles through methods like the arrangement of graves (perhaps facing a certain direction) or burial methods (flexed burial, which some scholars believe resembles the fetal position, indicating a return to the womb; burial inside houses or finding a sacred site, implying the relationship between the soul of the deceased and the living).

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In modern times, many people choose different burial methods like tree burial, sea burial, or cremation followed by interment in a tower. These methods are vastly different from traditional earth burial, indicating cultural change and a shift in our perception of the afterlife and the relationship between the deceased and the living.

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Regardless of the burial method chosen, our remembrance of the deceased still adheres to certain cultural paradigms. While the form and content of culture constantly change with human societal and cultural life, our remembrance of the deceased has never disappeared. From this perspective, perhaps funeral culture is one of the important distinctions that make being human special.

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