Week 3 Activity Post

In Susan Orpett Long’s article, she talks about what is considered a good death in Japan and the United States. She talks about the notions of going through death and the different ways death can occur. Death transcends our physical world and it is a understanding that we need to come to terms with. There are many ways to die, weather it is thought of as a good way or not. (Long 2003) With that in mind, I decided to research death in Brazil. First, there are statics on how long people are expected to live and also some of the biggest causes for peoples death. In Brazil, females are expected to live until the age of seventy-nine and males are expected to live until the age of seventy-one. The biggest cause of death in Brazil is Ischemic heart disease. It has been the number one cause of death since 2005. Other causes have to do with lung cancer, violence, cerebrovascular disease, lower respiratory infection, or chronic kidney diseases. (IHME 2016) In Brazil, it is against the law to help a person die and it would result in jail time for that person. This is seen as an act against God and looks like they killed someone. However, a doctor is allowed to stop any treatment if they deem it to have no affect on keeping the patient alive anymore. The Brazilian government and the religious values a person has holds authority over someone’s death. At the end, a physician determines the death of a person, how they died and when. (Ribeiro 2015) When someone does die, the family is responsible for the death rituals and have to take care of all the funeral arrangements. The funeral takes place at the families biggest house and there is morning for seven days. The first day, the casket is open and the family can come see the body. On the seventh day, there is a family mass and flowers are sent to the funeral from others that could not come. There are certain rituals that take place, but they are determined by your social status. Most people in Brazil do cremation due to lack of space and wanting families to be together at the same spot. Cremation is done right after the first day so the dead could rest. People wear black to show that they are mourning and have lost a loved one. The death of a person is also reported in Brazil so others would also know of it. The women are allowed to cry out loud and be in turmoil, but the men must remain calm and not shed a single tear unless it is during the funeral. A superstition Brazilians have is that the water where the person died is toxic and impure, so everyone has to drink from bottled water instead. The family is allowed to mourn and given a week to do that. The longest they are allowed to mourn is three weeks total. (Scheinfeld 1997) Researching on death in Brazil showed me that the process of death and the death rituals that are held are very similar to the ones we have in the United States.

1. Long, S. O. (2003) Cultural Scripts for a Good Death in Japan and the United States: Similarities and Differences. Retrieved from http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp270-us18/files/2015/05/Cultural-scripts-for-a-good-death-in-Japan-and-the-US-Long-2004.pdf

2. IHME. (2016). Brazil. Retrieved from http://www.healthdata.org/brazil

3. Ribeiro, D. C. (2015). The Right To Die The End-of-Life Stage in Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia. Retrieved from https://portalrevistas.ucb.br/index.php/rvmd/article/ download/6106/3891

4. Scheinfelf, B. (1997). A Brazilian’s Description of Grief and Bereavement Practices. Retrieved from http://www.indiana.edu/~famlygrf/culture/scheinfeld.ht ml

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