Strange Mourning Practice

Mourning is, in the simplest sense,of grief over the death of friends, relatives or family members, describing a cultural complex of behavior of the bereaved family and friends. Customs vary between different cultures, traditions and religions.   Wearing black clothes  is one common practice  in many countries, although some countries forms of dress depends on the ethnic traditions. People  most affected by the loss of a loved one often observe a period of grieving, marked by withdrawal from social events and quiet, respectful behavior and all mourners must  also follow certain religious traditions for such occasions. Death anniversary of a our loved ones also apply in mourning state, as we remember the good memories that will always stay in our heart. A wake is a ceremony for the funeral, where friends and relatives gather for viewing and pay their last respect to the dead person. In some countries, the wake is held n their own homes, but most of the western culture, the wake is held in a funeral parlor. However, important individuals such as celebrities, local leaders, monarch, religious leaders, or State leaders who passed away, wakes are normally held in the museums, schools, church, or any state offices and given a state funeral mourning. Dead Yard or Nine-Nights is a funerary tradition practiced in Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Guyana, which most mourning and wakes lasted for several days, and this practice originated in Africa. Friends and relatives gather together at the house of the deceased, share memories while singing hymns, condolences and eating food. On the ninth night, a tent is set up with table set with foods for the relatives and immediate family of the deceased, although no one is allowed to eat from early night to midnight, because they believed the “spirit of the deceased” passes through. Nowadays, Nine-nights are no longer followed the traditional way of mourning. When friends come, they do not share condolences, instead they bring food, drinks and music since the loved ones is no longer suffering pain or illness.

1) Africa:  Ethiopia Mourning

ETHIOPIA - Lady in mourning clothes

ETHIOPIA – Lady in mourning clothes

Ethiopian mourning for the loss of loved ones

Ethiopian mourning for the loss of loved ones

Ethiopian Orthodox Funeral rites

Ethiopian Orthodox Funeral rites

Edir is a traditional Ethiopian community organization, whose members give assistance to the grieving families. Edir members pay monthly contributions for the Edir’s fund to help Edir members fund the funeral expenses and grieving family is entitled to receive a certain amount of money, based on the Edir member status in the organization. Female members help the mourning family do the housework and preparing foods, while the male member’s responsibility arranging the funeral ceremony and wake, and erect the temporary tent to shelter the guests that mourns with the family. The Edir members stay with the mourning family in three full days.

Nigeria Mourning

Mourning and funeral wake in Nigeria

Mourning and funeral wake in Nigeria

Mourning of family in Abuja, Nigeria

Mourning of family in Abuja, Nigeria

Mourning women of Nigeria

Mourning women of Nigeria

Ghana funeral and mourners

Ghana funeral and mourners

2) Jamaica / Guyana  Mourning

all female kumina groups nine nights mourning wake

all female Kumina groups nine nights mourning wake

The Kumina all-female members of Port Morant, St Thomas, Jamaica attending the nine-nights mourning singing the folk songs, playing the drum or Kyast, pots, graters, shakers and other native items.

Jamaican Kumina group female attent Nin Nights Mourning

Jamaican Kumina group female attends Nine Nights Mourning and pass a young child over the coffin three times to prevent the spirit from harming them

Gerald 'Bogle' Levy's  Mother, Dorothy Smith is overcome with tears at her son's funeral

Gerald ‘Bogle’ Levy’s Mother, Dorothy Smith is overcome with tears at her son’s funeral

Ramischand family mourning over the death of 18 year old Nikita in Guyana

Ramischand family mourning over the death of 18 year old Nikita in Guyana

3)  Hinduism Mourning

Tonsuring of the Head, son shaves off hair in mourning the death of his father

Tonsuring of the Head, son shaves off hair in mourning the death of his father

The male members of the family do not shave and cut their hairs, while the female are not allowed to wash their hairs in 10 days of mourning. And on the 10th day after death known as Dasai or Daswan, male members can shave and cut their hairs, and the female can wash their hairs. Then the vedic rituals will start after the Daswan, and if the deceased is young, then the Pandits will perform the “Naravan Bali”, Bhairon Paath Mantras are recited, and the person who have given the “Ritual of Giving Fire to the dead body” or Mukhagni will perform this ritual.

Hindu mourners before cremation rites

Hindu mourners before cremation rites

Hindu funeral Anteshti Kriya and mourning

Hindu funeral Anteshti Kriya and mourning

India mourners before cremation ceremony

India mourners before cremation ceremony

Hinduism wear white during mourning

Hinduism wear white during mourning

Death in India’s belief and culture,  is not the final “end”, but is seen as a turning point of an endless journey of the indestructible  soul through innumerable bodies of animals and people. Hence, Hinduism prohibits excessive mourning or lamentation upon death, as this can hinder the passage of the departed soul towards its journey ahead. Hindu mourning is described in dharma shastras, which start immediately after the cremation of the body and ends on the morning of the thirteenth day. The body is cremated within 24 hours after death traditionally,however, cremations are not held after sunset or before sunrise. Immediately after the death, an oil lamp is lit near the deceased, and this lamp is kept burning for three days. The immediate relatives of the deceased believe that in Hinduism,ritual impurity associates with death, hence during these mourning time, the immediate family must not attend weddings or parties,  perform any religious ceremonies (except funerals), must not visit temples or other sacred places, must not serve the sages (holy men), must not give alms, must not read or recite from the sacred scriptures. It is customary during mourning period, the family of the deceased is not expected to serve any visiting guests food or drink where the death has occurred, and the family of the deceased will not cook, and only relatives and friends will provide the food for the mourning family. The family in mourning are required to bathe twice a day, eat a single simple vegetarian meal, and try to cope with their loss. White mourning clothes as symbol of purity is worn during the mourning period. The Shradda ceremony is performed which involves a fire sacrifice, an offering for the ancestors ,departed souls and the gods, to ensure peace for the deceased afterlife. After the ceremony the family of the deceased wash and clean the idols in the family shrine, and offer water, fruits, flowers and purified foods to the gods. Then it is time for the family to “break the period of mourning” and return to their normal life.

4)  Islamic Mourning

Mourning-in-Irans-Grand-Ayatollah-Hossein-Ali-Montazeri-wake

Mourning-in-Irans-Grand-Ayatollah-Hossein-Ali-Montazeri-wake

mourning over the dead is allowed in islam grief

mourning over the dead is allowed in Islam grief

Kashmiri Muslim women wail and mourn over the death of Shabir Ahmad

Kashmiri Muslim women wail and mourn over the death of Shabir Ahmad

Ashura mourning procession commemorating Imam Hussain

Ashura mourning procession commemorating Imam Hussain

The orthodoxy beliefs when a loved ones departed, family and relatives are to observe a 3-daymourning period. The  Islamic mourning in accordance to Qur’an, is observed by increased devotion, receiving visitors and condolences, and avoiding decorative clothing and jewelry.  During that time, the widow is not to remarry, interact with whom she can marry or  na-mahram. However, this rule is to confirm that the woman is not pregnant with the deceased’s child prior to remarrying, and just in case this happen, a visiting doctor will attend to the widow and can interact with the na-mahram.  The widows are prohibited according to Qur’an, to engage themselves for 4 lunar months and 10 days after their husband’s death, will extend the iddah or period of waiting for the extended mourning period. The period of waiting of 4 months and 20 days long  Grief and mourning at the death of a beloved person is normal, and weeping for their loved ones (by males or females) is  acceptable in Islam.

Muslim Chinese mourning,Ningxia, Yingchuan, Yongning County, Najia Village

Muslim Chinese mourning,Ningxia, Yingchuan, Yongning County, Najia Village

Muslim Chinese, mourning over loved ones death

Muslim Chinese, mourning over loved ones death

5)   Taoist Mourning

Taoist mourning

Taoist mourning

Taoist mourning services, Singapore

Taoist mourning services, Singapore

Taoist mourning over loss of relative

Taoist mourning over loss of relative

Chinese Mourning

Singaporean Chinese mourning

Singaporean Chinese mourning

Chinese wake and mourning ceremony

Chinese wake and mourning ceremony

Chinese Mourners

Chinese Mourners

During the wake, the family does not wear jewelry or red clothing (red is the color of happiness). Traditionally, children and grandchildren of the deceased did not cut their hair for 49 days after the death, but this custom is now usually only observed by older generations. It is customary for blood relatives and daughters-in-law to wail and cry during mourning as a sign of respect and loyalty to the deceased. The cries are particularly loud if the deceased has left a large fortune.

6) Japanese Mourning

Japanese mourning

Japanese mourning

Mourning in a Japanese wake

Mourning in a Japanese wake

Japanese funeral procession, mourners wear white

Japanese funeral procession, mourners wear white

Japanese famliy separating bones from the ashes

Japanese famliy separating bones from the ashes

mofuku (喪服)

mofuku (喪服)

The mofuku is the term in Japanese for mourning dress  which can  be referred  to either primarily black Western-style formal wear or to black traditional Japanese kimono worn at the Buddhist funeral memorial services. Other colors, particularly reds and bright shades, are considered inappropriate for mourning dress. If wearing Western clothes, women may wear a single strand of white pearls. The Japanese mourning dress for women, which is only used during mourning period,  consists of a five crested plain black silk kimono, black obi and black accessories worn over a white undergarments, black zori sandals and white tabi split-toe socks. While the Japanese men mourning dress is a plain black silk five-crested kimono, black and white or gray and white striped hakama trousers over white undergarments, black crested haori jacket with a white closure, white or black zori and white tabi. The Japanese mourning dress is worn only by immediate family and relatives of the deceased, while friends and visitors who mourn with them can wear Western style mourning dress or Japanese formal wear.

7) Korea Mourning

Korean History in Andong  Traditional Korean Funeral

Korean History in Andong Traditional Korean Funeral

Traditional Korean funeral procession and mourning clothes

Traditional Korean funeral procession and mourning clothes

During the Joseon dynasty the recently deceased would be wrapped up in a single piece of hemp cloth before being buried.

Dae-Jung South Korean state funeral, followed by thousands of Mourners

Dae-Jung South Korean state funeral, followed by thousands of Mourners

South Korean mourners in black, heads bowed, crying

South Korean mourners in black, heads bowed, crying

Wake and funeral of South Korean former President Kim Dae-jung, a longtime defender of democracy and advocate of reconciliation who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to reach out to communist North Korea.

North Koreans mourning for Kim

North Koreans mourning for Kim

8)  Thailand Mourning

Thailand mourns for the death of Princess Bejaratana’s Royal Funeral,

Thailand mourns for the death of Princess Bejaratana’s Royal Funeral,

Thailand mourning and grieving family

Thailand mourning and grieving family

Thailand mourning at the funeral, a Buddhist monk chanting in front the coffin

Thailand mourning at the funeral, a Buddhist monk chanting in front the coffin

Akha Tribe Funeral and Mourning Ceremony

Thailand Akha funeral and mourning rites, pouring of whisky on the wood symbol of coffin

Thailand Akha funeral and mourning rites, pouring of whisky on the wood symbol of coffin

The Akha tribe carved out few pieces of wood as representative of Akha traditional coffin. The “wood coffin” is carved from a large tree, where it is forbidden to cut large trees by the government, so instead, they carve small pieces in the shape of a coffin.

"wood coffin" covered with cotton by mourners

“wood coffin” covered with cotton by mourners

bottom of the coffin is covered in dry tea leaves, so as to absorb any leakage from the decomposing corpse

bottom of the coffin is covered in dry tea leaves, so as to absorb any leakage from the decomposing corpse

Hence the real coffin was purchased from a nearby village, where Chinese and Burmese wood workers supply to the Akha villagers. The friends and other relatives for the deceased, bring the coffin, lined with plastic sheet, into the main room of the house. Then the coffin floor is covered by dry tea leaves, to absorb any leakage from the decomposing body of the deceased. On top of the dry tea leaves, a small carved wood covered with cotton, is placed to symbolized traditional coffin of the maternal topped with the paternal.

Hmong Tribe, Thailand Mourning rites

Hmong tribe mourning, If Vang Pao funeral

Hmong tribe mourning, If Vang Pao funeral

9)  Cambodia Mourning and Funeral

Cambodia funeral mourning

Cambodia funeral mourning

Cambodia funeral, Buddhist Temple Wat, Sihanoukville

Cambodia funeral, Buddhist Temple Wat, Sihanoukville

Cambodia funeral procession

Cambodia funeral procession

Cambodia mourning

Cambodia mourning

Cambodia funeral and mourners

Cambodia funeral and mourners

It is common among the Western society, that death is not seen with the great outpouring of grief, but believed as the end of one life and as the beginning of another life that one hopes will be better. Buddhist Khmer usually are cremated, and their ashes are deposited in a stupa in the temple compound. A corpse is washed, dressed, and placed in a coffin, which may be decorated with flowers and with a photograph of the deceased. White pennant-shaped flags, called “white crocodile flags,” outside a house indicate that someone in that household has died. The funeral procession, consisting of achar or priests, Buddhist monks, members of the family, and other mourners accompanies the coffin to the crematorium. The spouse and the children show mourning by shaving their heads and by wearing white clothing. Relics such as teeth or pieces of bone are prized by the survivors, and they are often worn on gold chains as amulets.

10)  Sulawesi, Indonesia Mourning at Funerals

Sulawesi, Indonesia Mourners at the funeral

Sulawesi, Indonesia Mourners at the funeral

Sulawesi funeral ceremony

Sulawesi funeral ceremony

mourning for dead relative at the funeral in Aulawesi, Indonesia

mourning for dead relative at the funeral in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Sulawesi funeral procession

Sulawesi funeral procession

The life of the Torajans of South Sulawesi is very much focused on death. They spend their time working with buffalos on rice-terraced hills, living in colorful boat-shaped houses, and saving money for gigantic funeral ceremonies that last several days and are attended by thousands of guests. The countryside is spotted with graves in caves, small houses, and coffins hanging from cliffs alongside white-eyed wooden dolls resembling the deceased.  The funeral is the first occasion for the family to mourn their loved one’s death, which is often done in a very conscious and intense way. Eventually, the coffin is carried to the grave by young men. This is traditionally done with cheering, pretending to struggle going into different directions, and splashing water over the coffin in play. Guests and mourners are fed on the first day of mourning, followed by the gruesome butchering of buffalo, which is the main attraction for local visitors. Then the meat is distributed to the community and the horns are used to decorate traditional houses as status symbol.

11) Malaysian Mourning

mourners no longer wear sackcloth  in Malaysia

mourners no longer wear sackcloth in Malaysia

Chinese mourners in Malaysia, Taoist style

Chinese mourners in Malaysia, Taoist style

Mourning at a wake in Malaysia

Mourning at a wake in Malaysia

12) Vietnam Funeral and Mourning

Hanoi, Vietnam funeral procession

Hanoi, Vietnam funeral procession

Vietnamese mourners in white-head band and black clothes, in a funeral procession

Vietnamese mourners in white-head band and black clothes, in a funeral procession

Le HoangKim Nicole, left, wife of South Vietnamese ex-leader Nguyen Cao Ky, cries during a funeral of her husband

Le HoangKim Nicole, left, wife of South Vietnamese ex-leader Nguyen Cao Ky, cries during a funeral of her husband

Vietnam funeral and mourners in white

Vietnam funeral and mourners in white

Vietnamese traditional mourner clothes

Vietnamese traditional mourner clothes

Nowadays, morning ceremonies follow new rituals which are simplified, they consist of covering and putting the dead body into the coffin, the funeral procession, the burial of the coffin into the grave, and the visits to the tomb. The deceased family members wear a white turban or a black mourning band.

13) Mourning and Funeral rites in Tonga

Tongan mourning on Halatau Naitoko, a teenager accidentally shot dead

Tongan mourning on Halatau Naitoko, a teenager accidentally shot dead

Tongan funeral tradition procession

Tongan funeral tradition procession

In Tonga, family members of deceased persons wear black for an extended period of time, with large plain Ta’ovala. Often, black bunting (strips of cloth or material ) is hung from homes and buildings and, in the case of the death of royalty, the entire country adopts mourning dress and black and purple bunting is displayed from most buildings. Funeral in Tonga is well attended an large, relatives gather, often traveling from long distance villages. Abundant foods are distributed to the crowds during and after the funeral services. The Tongan funeral practice is a mix Christian rites and customs such as the wake and Christian burials, with indigenous customs such as wearing of their traditional mourning clothes. The mourners wear black (a Western custom) but wrap mats around their waist, called ta’ovala, the size and type of the mat symbolized the mourner’s relationship to the deceased. Their funeral is called a fakamasiva, an occasion that leads to poverty, thus the Tongans do not compete on making their funeral rites the largest and grandest, but to show respect for the deceased by doing the customary mourning practice.

14)  Samoans Mourning and Funeral Ceremony

MOANALEI LONG, 9, a beach sprite from the beachfront at Lalomanu in Western Samoa mourners

MOANALEI LONG, 9, a beach sprite from the beachfront at Lalomanu in Western Samoa mourners

Samoa mourners including Chief in traditional skirts

Samoa mourners including Chief in traditional skirts

Samoa mourns at a funeral

Samoa mourns at a funeral

15)  Iceland Mourning and Funeral

mourners in Iceland

mourners in Iceland

Funeral in church in Reykjavik,Iceland,and their traditional  White coffins or Krista,

Funeral in church in Reykjavik,Iceland,and their traditional White coffins or Krista

Norway Mourning

OSLO, Norway — Norway held the first funerals Friday for victims of the massacre of 77 people

OSLO, Norway — Norway held the first funerals Friday for victims of the massacre of 77 people

Norway funeral and mourning

Norway funeral and mourning

Norway mourns

Norway mourns

The Iceland the funeral and customary mourning practices, is commonly held five to fourteen days after death. Before the funeral a Kistulagning , a small funeral service or wake held for the close family, relatives and friends. The services takes up to 30 minutes and is usually held in a small chapel or Kapella.  It is not customary to prepare the body with embalming, only a small cosmetic procedure is performed. This has been known to cause problems in cases where foreigners die in Iceland, thus a suggestion by the Rannsoknarsvio of the Landspitali University Hospital, as the coroners office has led to the possibility of having the corpse preserved for transfer. This has to be specially authorized for each case and is not necessarily available at all times.  Most viewing are held in Chapel of Fossvogskapella  or a praying-house (bænhús) next to Fossvogur’s church or Fossvogskirkja, only serves as a church for funerals.

Scotland Mourning at the Funeral

Mourning for Gillies Alasdair funeral in Scotland

Mourning for Gillies Alasdair funeral in Scotland

Mourning in Scotland

Mourning in Scotland

An old funeral rite from the Scottish Highlands is to bury the deceased with a wooden plate resting on his chest. In the plate were placed a small amount of earth andsalt, to represent the future of the deceased. The earth hinted that the body would decay and become one with the earth, while the salt represented the soul, which does not decay. This rite was known as “earth laid upon a corpse”. This practice was also carried out in Ireland, as well as in parts of England, particularly in Leicestershire, although in England the salt was intended to prevent air from distending the corpse.

16)  Russian Orthodox Christians

Russian mourners at a funeral ceremony

Russian mourners at a funeral ceremony

Russian family mourning for the death of their son

Russian family mourning for the death of their son

 mourning at the grave, Russian Orthodox family

mourning at the grave, Russian Orthodox family

Russian Orthodox Christians mourners at a funeral procession

Russian Orthodox Christians mourners at a funeral procession

The Orthodox Christians usually hold the funeral either the day after death or on the third day, and always during the daytime, and the body of the deceased would be washed and prepared for the burial by family, relatives and friends and then placed in the coffin in the home. A house in mourning would be recognizable, set on the porch by the front door and by the lid of the coffin, with a cross on it, and often adorned with flowers. Special prayers are held on the third, seventh or ninth (number varies in different national church), and 40th days after death; the third, sixth and ninth or twelfth month;  and annually thereafter in a memorial services, for up to three generations. Kolyva is ceremoniously used to honor the dead. Sometimes men in mourning will not shave for the 40 days.  Forty seems to have recurring pre-Judaic origins  in the Rites of Persephone. In Greece and other Orthodox countries, it is not uncommon for widows to remain in mourning dress for the rest of their lives.  When an Orthodox bishop dies, a successor is not elected until after the 40 days of mourning are completed, during which period his diocese is said to be widowed.

Ukraine Mourning

Ukraine mourns for the death of Oksana Makar, gang rape victim

Ukraine mourns for the death of Oksana Makar, gang rape victim

Ukrainian teen, Oksana Makar, who died after three weeks  from a monstrous attack where she was gang-raped, half-strangled and then set on fire, has been buried in the village of Luch near the town of Mykolayiv.  In accordance to the Ukraine’s tradition, she had been buried in a wedding dress, and red roses laid on her white coffin.

Ukrainian woman mourns over death of mother

Ukrainian woman mourns over death of mother

Ukrainian Gypsy's funeral and mourners

Ukrainian Gypsy’s funeral and mourners

17) New Zealand Mourning and Funeral Ceremony

New Zealand traditional Maori wlecoming before th funeral ceremony

New Zealand traditional Maori welcoming before the funeral ceremony

New Zealand's Maori welcome rites, before the funeral ceremony

New Zealand’s Maori welcome rites, before the funeral ceremony

18) Australia Mourning and Funeral Ceremony

Australia mourning at a funeral home

Australia mourning at a funeral home

Australia mourns for Steve Irwin's funeral

Australia mourns for Steve Irwin’s funeral

Grieving and mourning,Bob Irwin, the founder of Australia Zoo and father of late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin

Grieving and mourning,Bob Irwin, the founder of Australia Zoo and father of late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin

19)  Philippines Funeral and Mourning

Filipino mourning and grieving

Filipino mourning and grieving

Filipino mourns the death of Cardina Jaime Sin

Filipino mourns the death of Cardina Jaime Sin

Filipinos mourns the death of Comedian actor, Dolphy

Filipinos mourns the death of Comedian actor, Dolphy

Philippines Popular Comedian Dolphy passed away, daughters grieving and mourning over father's death

Philippines Popular Comedian Dolphy passed away, daughters grieving and mourning over father’s death

Filipino mourners

Filipino mourners

20) United States Mourning and Funeral

American soldiers funeral and mourners

American soldiers funeral and mourners

African American mourners

African American mourners

African American funeral

African American funeral

Jazz Funeral, New Orleans

Jazz Funeral in New Orleans, followed by funeral procession and mourners

Jazz Funeral in New Orleans, followed by funeral procession and mourners

New Orleans mourners and Jazz funerals

New Orleans mourners and Jazz funerals

Jazz funeral procession, New Orleans

Jazz funeral procession, New Orleans

Jazz funeral is a common name for a funeral music tradition ,which developed in New Orleans, Louisiana. The term “jazz funeral” was long in use by observers from elsewhere, but was generally disdained as inappropriate by most New Orleans musicians and practitioners of the tradition.  The tradition blends strong European and African cultural influences. Louisiana’s colonial past gave it a tradition of military style brass bands which were called on for many occasions, including playing funeral processions.  This was combined with African spiritual practices, specifically the Nigerian Yoruba tribe  and other parts of West Africa . Jazz funerals are also heavily influenced by early twentieth century African American Protestant and Catholic churches, black brass bands, and the Haitian Voodoo’s idea of celebrating after death in order to please the spirits who protect the dead. Another group that has had an impact on jazz funerals are the Mardi Gras Indians.

Mardi Gras Indians, mourns the death of Big Queen, New Orleans

Mardi Gras Indians, mourns the death of Big Queen, New Orleans

Mardi Gras Indian funeral procession followed by mourners

Mardi Gras Indian funeral procession followed by mourners

Mexico Funeral and Mourning

Mexico funeral and mourning

Mexico funeral and mourning

Oaxaca, Mexico mourns at a funeral with traditional clothes

Oaxaca, Mexico mourns at a funeral with traditional clothes

El Paso Texas, mourns death of 15 year-old Mexican boy, Mexico Border Patrol Shooting

El Paso Texas, mourns death of 15 year-old Mexican boy, Mexico Border Patrol Shooting

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