The dead have played an important role in every country and culture across continents. Although some cultures may honor their dead differently than the others, the same reverence is paid to that last ride, all over. For most people, funeral car procession is not merely the process of putting the dead in the ground. Regardless of beliefs, people across different countries continue to pay respect to this ageless custom.
Although funeral procession seems to be a shared worldwide custom, the funeral cars or hearses used greatly vary. And this is where culture reflection comes in.
Most of Americans, for example, like their hearses darkened, having no windows. This classic color of funeral coach in the West is traditionally associated with mourning. Also, majority of funeral cars in the United States and Canada use luxurious brands of car as a base such as Cadillacs and Lincolns.
In the East, funeral vehicles may be white or golden, and some may even be ornately decorated. Like in the West, funeral car manufacturers in the East tend to use luxury types of cars as bases, with powerful engines.
On the other hand, Latin cultures seem to embrace death. They prefer open funeral coaches with side rails to clutch while they escort their loved ones to their burial place. This may not be so surprising considering their celebrations like the day of the dead.
In Japan, funeral cars can come in two styles: foreign style and the Japanese style. Foreign type hearses are similar in style to American funeral coaches. The Japanese type hearse on the other hand, has its rear area tailored to resemble an ornate Buddhist temple. This usually requires the rear part of the vehicle to be completely altered, where the rear roof and all the interior parts are removed. Popular bases for funeral coaches in Japan are not limited to large sedans. Funeral cars can also be in the form of minivans and pickup trucks from companies such as Nissan and Toyota.
In Australia, people favor hearses with large windows so they can view their dearly departed. This reflects their perhaps, much vaunted openness and stoicism with regard to confronting hardships and grief. In Europe, most funeral vehicles are based on commercial vans. In the past, they used to convert medium-sized vans into funeral coaches. Nowadays, Mercedes-Benz vans are quite common.
In recent times, funeral coaches continue to develop. In fact, Motorcycle plus side-hearses is becoming more popular these days. These type funeral coaches are often used for the funeral processions of motorcycle enthusiasts.
But whatever type of hearse it is, each equally marks the inevitable event since the dawning of humanity – the last ride to the final resting place.