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Funeral ceremonies of the Kunama ethnic group (Part II)

Every society has its own cultural rituals that mark that particular society.  During such occasions, the celebration follows a cultural ritual that has been practiced in the society for centuries. Despite the importance and the age of such practices, some cultural rituals can be avoided while others can’t whether one is living in the most developed, sophisticated world or in the remote villages in the deserts of Sahara.  As long as you belong to that particular culture you can’t avoid such rituals. One of the rituals that can’t be avoided despite the level of education, economic income, and living environment of a person are funeral ceremonies. Since you still belong to that particular society, you will follow those rituals.

This article tries to view funeral ceremonies in the Kunama ethnic group. Although the funeral ceremonies and mourning rituals vary due to various reasons, mourning in the middle of the night is not allowed. Even if a person dies in the middle of night, one is not allowed to mourn or cry until it is believed that the entire village is awake. And if there is someone seriously sick from the close relatives or family members of the deceased, first they wet the chest of the sick person with water before they tell the news about the deceased relative.

If the deceased person died from cancer, all the local inhabitants from the village of the deceased will apply feaces of an animal to their chests, only after they apply the faeces that they start to cry and mourn for the deceased.

The moment a person passed away message is send to neighboring villages, and if the deceased is an elder that have seen his children grow and have grandchildren, horn is blown to signal that an elder has passed away.

If the deceased is a man, the men in the society will wash his body, apply eye liner, dress him with his best clothes, and put some garments made of beads. They also apply fat to the hair at the back of his head and prepared him or her for burial.

If the deceased is female, the same things apply, but for females fat is applied to the entire hair, this way the deceased is prepared for burial. Just before the funeral a mixture of maize and sesame will be sprayed over the body of the deceased, and a close relative like a wife or a brother will take some from the mixed crops for later cultivation.

If a husband dies, and the wife is not at home the news of his death need to be told to the wife after she is returned to her house, if she hears the news about the death of her husband while she is outside of the house, she is considered as a divorcee.

Graveyard are usually prepared for family, members of one family are buried in a specific place. Once the body reaches the graveyard all the garments will be removed, but if the deceased is female one blue bead will be left to be buried with her. Female bodies lie on their right side while the males are put to lie on their left side in the graveyard. If there was a recent burial in a family, the latter is moved to another burial site.

To be continued ……………..s


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