We recently had the pleasure of watching Okuribito (2008), the 2008 Oscar Award winner (foreign language ) Japanese movie. In English it is named Departures. I don't know what they call it in Spanish. Susan says it's called Despedidas.
I've been lucky enough not to have had to go to cemeteries too frequently, but I have had to, both in Spain and the USA.
My experience with Spanish burials has always disgusted me. With no exception, whether it was of a wealthy or poor person, it was always unsatisfying, to say the least. There was always an absolute lack of respect in the material process of burial. Not even the most dignified crowd could overcome that fact. Nothing is done as it should be.
I am convinced that only reflects the actual manners of our people. A pity, no doubt.
In contrast, Okuribito shows that things can be done with Dignity, even those commonly done otherwise.
And, more importantly, it shows that, in those cases, when things are done with Dignity, it results in great satisfaction and comfort for everybody: including the deceased, let's hope.
It also shows that Dignity doesn't cost money, it only needs the will to act with respect.
Lastly, it also shows that sometimes we need to overcome prejudices, but that is a different story.
I strongly recommend that you see Okuribito, or whatever they call it in your language.
Besides, it's a very pleasant and well done movie.
Forgot to say: Nokanshi is the ritual of cleansing and beautifying the body of the deceased, without exposing the flesh, and introducing it in the coffin, usually at home in front of family and friends, while they say their last goodbyes.
With all my love.
PD Today, Susan sends me this NYTimes article, where they give notice of a family following its own Nokanshi ritual when Grandpa dies, in NH, in the States... as many others are also doing (I hope it's not only for the money savings, as the editorial is focussed).