what has gone wrong

Nigerian funerary culture, what went wrong


what has gone wrong

In the heart of Nigerians are funerals. we believe dead people become ancestors and the greatest respect for our ancestors is to give them a befitting funeral ceremony

Nigeria is made up of 250 different ethnic groups. Each group has its own faith and traditions.
The nation is religiously inhabited by both Christians and Muslims. They may be so religious, but they incorporate traditional rituals into their everyday lives.

Nigeria’s major real-world experience is a funeral. Funerals come either with joy or with mourning. it comes with joy when the deceased is an elderly person, in his funeral poster will be captioned  Transition to Glory, or gone to rest. it comes with morning when the deceased is a young person, it will be captioned Obituary. There is this belief that, If all burial customs are not followed, family members fear that their loved one would not be an ancestor, they will be wandering aimlessly in the spirit world, and therefore they will haunt them the living.

pre-burial order in Nigeria

Nigerian tribes have distinct pre-funeral practices with similarities.  Nigerians are not cremated, Cremation is prohibited in both Islam, Christianity, and traditional African religions. because  It destabilizes reincarnation which prevents the dead from reuniting with their ancestors.

when people die, Some bodies are buried straight away, while some are sent to the mortuary to wait for burial. The Yoruba people will wait from a month to a year to save on these expenses. The Igbo tribe would bury the dead within two days and then save for a lavish second burial. Muslims also will bury their loved ones as soon as possible, they do not engage in a lavish burial ceremony.

until now, there is a deviation from the original purpose of holding a funeral ceremony. In the process of trying to give honor to the dead.
a lot has gone wrong with our Nigerian funerary culture. If you are reading this  as a Nigerian or as a foreigner planning to visit Nigeria, I encourage you to read down

seeing funeral as an entertainment

A classmate of mine lost her life after undergoing surgery, on the day of her funeral ceremony, some people stood beside her coffin to take pictures.
Know that tears and sadness don’t bring anyone back to life, but I was shocked to see people act at funerals as if they were attending a wedding or birthday party. Some also take photographs of the dead. Why? Pictures, are the pictures of her when she was alive, aren’t enough as memories?

I won’t disagree over whether the person who died was an angel or a demon or whether he deserves laugh or tears. But everybody deserves a tribute on the day they’re gone. if we can just not pay tribute, at least then we really can attend the funeral with a minimum of respect.

  flamboyant Aso-Ebi Dress 

The term aso ebi is coined from two Yoruba words: aso meaning ‘cloth’ and ebi, which means ‘family’. The tradition was developed as a means of identification for relatives at Nigerian weddings, funerals, and other celebrations.

There’s nothing wrong with being identified as a family who lost their loved ones. The original intention of sewing Aso ebi during the funeral ceremony was for easier recognition. these days reverse happens to be the case, many people went through hell just to sew theirs, one of the burials I attended in  Anambra state, Nigeria. A lady was verbally insulted for not being able to make her own fabric. the question is, is this actually what the dead person would want us to do?

in order not to be the object of ridicule, a lot of people borrow money in other to have a standard funeral as they claimed.  I know a woman who almost sold almost all her property after her husband’s funeral to pay off her debt. we could avoid some of all these luxuries and still have  a decent funeral for our lost loved one

coffin Dance

It’s a regular occurrence these days to see dancing pallbearers making fun of a dead person inside the coffin. They usually lift the coffin in a regular pattern while dancing in order to showcase their magical talent. May I crave your indulgence, ladies, and gentlemen, that these coffin dancers are being paid a huge amount of money for such a show? But, uh … What is the essence of such a lavish show to the dead. This is a borrowed culture that is not part of our funeral culture in Nigeria. Before you head into debt to make the burial of your deceased loved one Epic one, just remember that all they want is a peaceful funeral, as a way of honoring their departure, and not tossing them up and down by some strangers.

Religious demand

In the Bible, we were meant to understand that we should mourn with those who mourn. And not to add to their burden, during their critical time. during the funeral of a family member of mine, I was shocked when I saw the conditions of attending the burial for service by the church. they select and monitor the type of food and treatment they want or they will not attend the funeral. I was forced to ask questions. I know of course that faith plays a significant role in the funeral of members. still, there should be some kind of balancing in the conduct of their burial activities, organizing funerals in Nigeria is very expensive as a result of all these unwanted demands

There is no model or medal for the best funeral ceremony, the most important thing is to do the necessary rituals involved in laying the dead to rest in the spirit world. you can actually have a mini burial with the little amount of money you have and the dead person will still be happy in the spirit world. I will tell you how this can be possible in my next post.





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