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Burial Ceremony In Yoruba Land - Culture - Nairaland

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Burial Ceremony In Yoruba Land by ogbonnacomfort: 5:31pm On Nov 22, 2016
The Yoruba’s belief that death is not the end of life; rather, it is a transition from one form of existence to another. There is a belief in an afterlife that is a continuation of this life, only in a different setting; the afterlife is conditional, depending on the nature of one’s life and the nature of one’s death. This is the meaning of life.
Yoruba believes that: Keni huwa gbedegbede; keni lee ku pelepele; K’omo eni lee n’owo gbogboro L’eni sin. (Let one conduct one’s life gently; that one may die a good death; that one’s children may stretch their hands over one’s body in burial.)
The achievement of a good death is an occasion for celebration of the life of the deceased. This falls into several categories. First, children and grand children would celebrate the life of their parent who passed and left a good name for them. Second, the Yoruba are realistic and pragmatic about their attitude to death. They know that one may die at a young age. The important thing is a good life and a good name. As the saying goes: Ki a ku l’omode, ki a fi esin se irele eni; o san ju ki a dagba ki a ma ni adie irana, (if we die young, and a horse is killed in celebration of one’s life; it is better than dying old without people killing even a chicken in celebration.)
When the breath has departed from the body there is the usual outburst of exaggerated grief, with loud cries, lamentations, and frenzied gestures, and the eldest son of the deceased, or the brother, (if there be no son) will be call upon. The family will meet with the children of the deceased on how to bury the death, if the deceased is a Muslim, he or she must be buried same day after which the seventh days and fourth day’s prayers will be conducted by the Imam.
In the case of a Christian, the family decides whether to bury immediately or keep the corpse in the mortuary In the meantime a death-feast has been prepared, and now commences, while outside the house a continues beating of drums is sustained, together with frequent discharges of musketry, fired in honour of the deceased. The feast, at which intoxicants are used lavishly, soon becomes a veritable orgia, in which, however, the chief mourners, that is, the widows and daughters of the deceased, take no part; for as soon as they have performed the last offices for the dead, and have placed the corpse at the door, they are restricted to an adjacent apartment, where they are compelled by custom to remain during the three days that a corpse invariably lies in state. While thus immured they are forbidden to wash, and usage requires them to refuse all food, at least for the first twenty-four hours, after which they usually allow themselves to be persuaded to take some nourishment.
The conventional mourning is the business of the women of the household, who, while the men are feasting utter loud lamentations in the room in which they are confined; and, in consequence of this, the epithet isokun, “a mourner,” is often applied to a female child; a male, on the other hand, being sometimes called iwale, “a digger,” i.e., of a grave. A father might thus say that he had begotten two mourners and a digger, meaning, two daughters and a son. Female friends usually come to join in the lamentations, the conventional character of which is while the widows and daughters lament their lonely and unprotected state, somewhat as follows:—
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