The word death comes from Old English dēaþ, which in turn comes from Proto-Germanic *dauþuz (reconstructed by etymological analysis). This comes from the Proto-Indo-European stem *dheu- meaning the “process, act, condition of dying”.
Death is the center of many traditions and organizations; customs relating to death are a feature of every culture around the world. Much of this revolves around the care of the dead, as well as the afterlife and the disposal of bodies upon the onset of death.
The disposal of human corpses does begin with the last offices before a significant time has passed, and ritualistic ceremonies often occur, most commonly for burial or cremation. This is not a unified practice; in Tibet, for instance, the body is given a sky burial and left on a mountaintop.
Proper preparation for death and techniques and ceremonies for producing the ability to transfer one’s spiritual attainments into another body (reincarnation) are subjects of detailed study in Tibet. Mummification or embalming is also prevalent in some cultures, to retard the rate of decay.