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Funeral Ceremony in Kunama (Part II)

Once the burial ceremony is over, the participants of the funeral will slaughter a sheep that they brought to the ceremony and eat it there. Leftovers from the meat are left on the graveyard, it is forbidden to take leftovers to the house.

After the funeral ceremony is over, the participants return to the house of the deceased. Here crying or mourning on the road is forbidden, and leave the blanket or bed that have been carrying the dead body on at the porch of the house.  A village elder known as “kiskisha’ will wet the mourners with water on her/his left hand. Only after they are showered from the water thrown by “Kiskisha” , that they enter to the inside of the house.
Once inside the house, they will start to mourn and cry, here again “kiskisha” will counsel for the mourners to stop crying and attend to the guests. Later, in the evening “kiskisha” will get the blanket or bed and put it inside the house.

At times a wife or husband is deceased, the spouse do not go to the funeral ceremony. This ritual is also practiced at a time when a mother loses a child. In cases, the deceased is a husband starting from the moment he is announced dead the wife sleeps on the floor, and she is not allowed to get outside the house.

Incases where the deceased is an elder, the mourners go to the funeral ceremony singing.  According to the folklore in the Kunama society, once upon a time, there used to live a man called Ato, and when he die the people took his body to the graveyard, on the way he wakes up and begun to live again, after some years the man again die for real and on his funeral ceremony the village elders begun to sign a song saying that now you are really dead: starting from that time on the society begun to practice singing a song at funerals of elders.

Once the funeral ceremony is over, then preparations are made to celebrate the end mourning period known as Teskar. The celebration held for Teskar depends on the economic situation of the family. It can be held on the day after the funeral until one year.

During Teskar if the deceased is an elder two to three cattle will be slaughtered, and if the deceased is young one or two cattle will be slaughtered. In Teskar of an elder, the number of people gathered for the ceremony is quite large, and then the granddaughters of the deceased will sit in a blanket and mourn, then one of them will throw water at them and then only they will stop mourning, and usually the ladies do not plait their hair. On the day of the Teskar ceremony the cattle prepared for the occasion will be slaughtered, and the meet is cooked by boiling it in water only. Then it is handed to the men in the family first then to the women and lastly to all the invited guests.

The next day, an elder lady will move the blanket that the mourners have been sleeping on, and put it outside the house. At the porch another white blanket will be put in place for the mourners, and then the women will plait their hair but in a different style with out any ornaments.   After this ritual is over, the mourners are able to sleep in their beds. In Kunama ethnic group starting from the day the person passed away until this very moment mourners sleep in a blanket prepared for such occasions.

In cases  where there is leftover from the beef of the cattle slaughtered for Teskar, the ladies in the house will dry it and use it for later ceremonies like annual anniversary of the deceased where they prepare the meat and local drink  and eat it gathering  the neighbors.

After the ceremony for Teskar is completed, close relatives of the deceased begun to attend to their daily life.

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