The Good Funeral Guide Blog

A funeral for an elephant

Friday, 16 March 2012


“In Thailand it is customary for a monk to pray for an elephant who has passed away. Here’s a rare peek of an elephant’s funeral.”

2 mins 6 secs. Click on the icon on the bottom-right of the screen to bring it up to full size.


5 comments on “A funeral for an elephant

  1. Tuesday 11th September 2012 at 11:01 am

    […] time ago Charles blogged about an elephant’s funeral. Here – to finish – is a BBC film about the reactions of a small herd of elephants […]

  2. Jonathan

    Monday 19th March 2012 at 8:08 am

    I can’t find a word for what those elephants are expressing as they gather round the dead body, nor a thought that encompasses the meaning of what they are doing with it. ‘Grieving’ and ‘mourning’ spring to mind, but it’s too easy to attribute human feelings to what we cannot understand.

    Their demeanour gives presence to the dead animal in a way that embraces living an beyond, of which all, dead and living, are equally a part; and that is what makes this moving for me, as well as the humble respect and awe of the monks.

    It is what I always wish humans would do around the bodies of our dead. I think when we do we can find our way to this elephantine place of contemplation; at least elephants aren’t encumbered by social mores telling them bodies are unpleasant!

  3. Friday 16th March 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I have to admit I was filling up watching it. Strange how animals affect me that way far more often than humans do!

  4. Jehdeiah

    Friday 16th March 2012 at 1:18 pm

    that’ll do for me too – that was actually surprisingly moving.

    According to wonderful Wiki Aristotle rated elephants as “The animal which surpasses all others in wit and mind.”
    there’s a beautiful story of elephant society and cognition surrounding death too.
    This Thai ritual affords a little more dignified ending perhaps than this… coming soon to the Natural History Museum?

  5. Friday 16th March 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Amazingly lovely, isn’t it?

  6. Friday 16th March 2012 at 11:31 am

    Wow! Thank you for that, Charles.

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