Funeral customs


The rituals for the burial of the dead are based on religious teachings and may differ slightly depending on the ethnic group and traditional practices. All agree, however, that the dignity of the deceased must be respected, whether man or woman.

The ritual begins with the washing of the body, which is then perfumed, wrapped in a white shroud, and transported on a funeral bier carried on the shoulders to the cemetery, where prayers are held. The prayers include asking for mercy and forgiveness for the departed and imploring for his or her entrance into paradise.

Then the body is carried to the grave, which is a simple pit dug in the appropriate size and depth, into which the body is laid. It is covered with stones so that the funeral bier is not sullied with dust and dirt. Only then is the grave filled with earth.

Usually there is no indication who is buried in a grave, but grave sites may be marked to provide information about the gender of the deceased. A simple upright stone on either end of the grave marks the final resting place of a man; these plus a third stone in the center indicates that of a woman. On occasion someone may write the name of the deceased on a stone or a small table, which then fades with time.

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