Many ancient cultures, such as the Greeks, Egyptians and Chinese used honey as a main commodity for death rituals. These honey death rituals were intended to ensure nourishment for the deceased during his or her after life. In some cultures pots of honey were kept near the dead body during the funeral. Other cultures poured honey on the grave on the anniversary of the death. And yet others preserved their dead in jars of honey or wax.
Interestingly, archaeologists found honey during excavations of the Egyptian tombs that they reported were of good quality.
This sweet substance, often viewed as a way to ensure that the afterlife was ‘sweet’, was also used for embalming purposes. In Burma it served to temporarily preserve the dead body if the death occurred during the rainy season. Once the season ended, the body was cremated.
Other death-related uses of honey:
- Egyptian honey sacrifices of honey cakes were offered to the gods and were also prepared for priests who tended to the dead.
- The Greeks and Romans offered honey sacrifices at the deceased’s gravesites.