Safari Today

Does A Second Burial Really Exist?

Second Burial according to many African traditions and culture because it surely does not exist in most European countries except for those who have African roots such as Brazil, Canada and Australia that still harbor and protect their traditions and cultures that was passed on to them through their ancestral grand-parents.

Second burial according to customs exists mostly among the Igbo tribe in Nigeria and it was preserved for some many reasons but for the sake of modernization, the advent of Christianity and Western influence, it was stopped in some parts of the Igbo geographical areas but some people still maintain their own culture especially for the burial of titled men like those who have the “Ozo title” still have them intact.

What Does a Second Burial Mean?

Among the Igbo people of Nigeria there used to be a custom which is known as the second burial. Usually, the first burial of a dead person usually takes place after the death of the individual which is the normal type that many people are conversant with.

That is, the one where a cleric or a traditionalist comes in and offers some prayers before the interment of the deceased.

Usually, during the medieval years, the body of the deceased is laid out, washed and anointed with camwood dye – a colorful material gotten from a tree called camwood.

The eyes of the deceased are then circled with a white local chalk and ceremonially washed with some dry gins and then later sprinkled with sacrificial blood from animal followed by incantations and later libations to appease the spirits of the deceased ancestors.

When the whole process is carried out, the corpse of the deceased is then wrapped in a mat and interred by men who are considered as strong youth in the village near the dead person’s home. Meanwhile, the women proclaimed their sorrow in loud shrieks and wails, rushing to and fro, beating their breast, rolling on the ground in extravagant display of emotion, until the frenzy of grief and sadness began to abate. This was the whole process of burial of the body and not of the spirit.

Most times, people think that second burial is a process or an act of removing a dead person who have been initially been buried in a particular spot and then later transferred to a choice place. Yes, most of these happens and in many cases it is because the deceased was initially buried in a place which the family might have felt that it is inconvenient for them. Most especially, when the location of is too distant for them to go and visit the deceased tomb for memorial purpose. In this case, they can request for the deceased carcass to be buried in a convenient spot according to the family’s agreement.

This is not seen as a second burial but it is just a means of relocating the initial spot of the deceased tomb to another place. Second burial has its own rite and way of doing it.

Why Second Burial?

Second burial of a deceased always take place some weeks later after the proper burial of the dead person. This was called the burial of the spirit. It is always believed that the spirit of the dead always wandered about unhappily in the world and sometimes takes the form of human being and moves to another town to continue living out his life while some will wander about looking for way to avenge his own death while looking for his killer.

With this, many tribes have always come up with a second burial of a deceased person so that the spirit of the deceased can be able to rest well ascending to meet with his ancestors.

This time, the second burial is no longer a moment of sadness and grief but a time for commemoration and thanksgiving. The atmosphere is always jubilant, festive and full of life. Animals like hen, goats or cows are killed depending the nature of the death of the person and the availability of funds.

These animals are then slaughtered, sacrifices will be offered and many traditional prayers will be recited. A very long procession of people will wound their way down to the house of the deceased to merry with the family of the deceased. In fact, it is seen as a joyful celebration because the deceased have finally left the world and finally resting in peace with his ancestors.

Second Burial

The family provides the friends, well-wishers and neighbors with the most lavish feast they could afford, followed by music and dancing which will go on all night. Only then will the ghost of the deceased be appeased and enabled to enter fully into the new life in the spirit world.

African Tribes That Does Second Burial

Many African tribes have always persisted in preserving their cultures so that their upcoming generations will actually have a feel and taste of what it means to be part of that cultural heritage.

But unfortunately, most cultures and historical heritages of many places are not kept securely because they felt that it might be too fetish or contains too much of idolatry acts but in the midst of all, there should always be a good seen in all.

Second burial is mostly practiced especially in Western Africa where many believes that the dead should be treated with respect and honor as if he was still alive. Therefore, with this utmost dignity reserved for the deceased, the end up carrying out the different rites supposed for their beloved deceased ones.

Countries and tribes that still indulge in preserving the culture of second burial includes Nigeria especially the Igbo tribe, Papua New Guinea where acts like endocannibalism is carried out all for the sake of their culture.

Second Burial

This act can be barbaric but very significant to the people and it also have a meaning and connection to their belief in the dead journeying to the world of the spirits to join his ancestors.

The Wari tribe in Brazil also have a reserved way of making sure that the dead are well appeased so that they can be accepted into the land of the dead all with their own way of second burial.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button