Calming the spirits

by Muzamil Sekulima

Nonstop (Issue III/2019)

A few hairs are cut off from all the children of the deceased, they are then bound in a cloth and placed in the grave. In this way the spirit of the deceased person is calmed so that it does not haunt the children in the future. After the funeral, a forty-day period of mourning begins.

At the end of this, the extended family gathers for the last rites: There is singing, eating and a successor of the deceased is chosen. From now on he or she takes over all the duties of the deceased, both within the family, and in society. During the ceremony, the heir wears a birch bark robe that symbolizes their newly earned responsibility.

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