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What burial rites are in Igbo culture?

Do you know that Igbo people have special funeral traditions? Find out more about it here!

igbo burial rites

Igbos are people with the extraordinary traditions that have stayed with them for centuries. Every event has to be celebrated in a certain way – even the burial rites have to be held in a special way.

All the holidays are highly appreciated in Igbo culture but when it comes to birth and death, things get a lot more serious.

Death is a tragedy in this culture.

All the people who knew the dead person are supposed to gather together to say goodbye and to make sure that their friend successfully went out of this world to travel further to the world of spirits.

It’s very important that all the ceremony goes in a right way. That’s why Igbo people have more than one ceremony.

They believe that the person’s soul is not completely dead until the second burial rite. But after it’s over, the dead person is believed to be resting in peace forever.

Burial rites in Igbo culture

Faze 1 - Preparations

In their culture every person is supposed to have a different funeral. It depends on how old you were, what social status you had and how much money you owned.

For example, the funeral of old women will be different from the burial rite of the young kid.

igbo burial rites

Old women and men are usually covered in leaves as it is believed to create a peaceful atmosphere.

As for the others, the corps first needs to be cleaned so that the spirit is proper and ready to go to the other world. After that they put the body into their house.

If it’s a man – he is supposed to be lying down but if the dead person is a woman, she needs to be placed seated. Moreover, women have to be brought back to their hometown.

Faze 2 – the Wake

The rite of burial continues. After all the preparations are over and the body is absolutely ready to leave, it’s time for saying goodbye.

All the closest people come to the house of the dead person and receive palm wine as they enter.

READ ALSO: What do igbo brides wear

All the people who knew that person are supposed to pray that all the ceremony is successful and that the person rests in peace. It takes one night to have mourning.

After that all the people in surrounding areas are supposed to be informed about what happened.

Faze 3 – the burial number 1

The first of the burial rites in Igboland takes place in the house of the person. During the funeral all the important things that a man owned are given back to him so that he doesn’t have anything left on earth.

It’s obvious that men mostly get their instruments while women are buried with dishes and jewelleries if they had some. Some of the younger generation are responsible for putting the corps into the graves.

Faze 4 – the burial number 2

igbo burial rites

However, it’s not the end. The first funeral is followed by the second one. The people have to wait for 6 or even more months before they are allowed to have the second ceremony.

But it’s very different from the first one as now it is the time for celebrating the successful departure of the person to a world of spirits.

All the people attending this party are supposed to wear their best clothes that will show that they are happy for this dead person. There will be singing, dancing and eating holiday food.

All the family and friends are happy that now that man can get rest.

More about Igbo people

The language

Their language is very special. It belongs to the group of Kwa languages. They have a lot of words which are not understandable to anyone living in the region of West Africa, even though the languages are somewhat alike.

It sounds very interesting too.

Like in any other African language, one word can mean a lot of different things at the same time. What is really surprising, almost everyone living in the Igbo region is using the proverbs a lot.

Whoever you talk to, you will hear a lot of these expressions.

The lifestyle

They mostly live in the villages like the other Nigerian ethnic groups. The places where they live can be various depending on the area. All of them live with their families which usually consist of more than 4 people.

igbo burial rites

Their lifestyle is similar to the others but it still has some differences because of the specifics of their culture.

First of all, the people here have the most power. There is no one who can tell them what to do.

When an important decision has to be made, all the people gather together to discuss the problem and find a solution without a certain leader.

There is a division between the social groups. Everyone has a role in the society and everyone has particular responsibilities. There are also clubs that you can visit in your free time.

You can find anything you’re interested in and join the other people.

The Igbo people are famous for being very faithful and religious in general. Some of them are Christians but for the most part they have their own traditional religion with their own rules and special rituals for everything.

They think that reincarnation is real and that the person who dies and goes to spirit world has another chance to be born in this world again. That’s why death is not only a sad event for them.

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