Categories: Ebira Traditions

Traditional Funeral Rites for Ebira Women in Ebiraland

Introduction

Another important aspect of the cultural heritage of the Ebira people is their traditional rites. Their customs are not limited only to their festivals, ceremonies, clothing, or food, they also have laid down principles for celebrating traditional rites. The rites have established steps that must be followed and they are considered to be incomplete if they are not followed. In this article, we will be talking about the funeral rites carried out after the demise of Ebira women in Ebiraland. This Funeral rites will be discussed in two stages:

Stage 1: Announcing the death of the deceased Ebira woman to the family

One of my favorite parts of the culture of Anebira is the value accorded to their women. Anebira ascribe so much respect for their women and this is evident in the way they are treated. In fact, when you want to pay bride price in Ebiraland, you will see that they very much value their women because the bride’s family will always reiterate that they are not selling their daughter to you. They are marrying her to you, not as your slave, but as your companion. Ebira women enjoy so much respect in Ebiraland that the ancestors even established a funeral rite for them after their demise.

The honor accorded to married women in ebiraland is unparalleled. This continues even after the demise of the woman, especially in the family she is married to. It is considered improper and forbidden to begin making funeral arrangements for a married Ebira woman without first getting the consent or approval of her parental family.

The oldest child of the deceased is tasked with informing the maternal family of the demise of the mother. However, when he wants to pass the message, it is customary to not directly inform them of the situation but may report it that their daughter or sister, as the case may be, is on a sick bed and is critically ill.

A representative from the maternal family will accompany the son to inquire about the situation of their daughter or sister. The representative after confirming the death of the daughter or sister, will then return home with the husband of the deceased, the oldest child of the deceased, an elder in the husband’s family and any other person in the husband family, to inform the deceased parents that the woman has passed away. They will explain fully the circumstances surrounding her demise as well as the care she received prior to passing away.

This is usually done to ensure that their sister or daughter did not pass away as a result of carelessness of the husband.

Stage 2: Burial and rites proper

The husband and those who accompanied him from his family will return home after the woman’s family has accepted the death of their child as God’s will. Upon getting home, A gun will be fired into the air to alert the neighborhood that a woman has passed on to idaneku (abode of the ancestors) while they await the arrival of the family of the deceased so that they can begin making arrangements for the burial.

The immediate family of the deceased will arrive with some clothing that will be utilized for the rites, along with other clothing, to envelop the corpse. The deceased immediate family (parents) will be the first to pour water over the corpse during the bathing process. They will do this three times before the bathing actually starts.

The parents and siblings of the deceased will scream hysterically after bathing process has been concluded. The woman’s immediate family will put their garments down first, and once they have wrapped the corpse in them, other members of the extended family will bring their clothes one at a time.

The immediate family will also be the first to chant a funeral hymn before others follow after they have shrouded the corpse. The funerals are now officially underway; there will be a form of music known as Onyimuruwei that will be sang throughout the night while the body is preserved till the following day when it is eventually buried. The funeral may last as long as 14 days depending on how capable the husband and the children are.

Closure

This marks the end of the funeral rites for the deceased Ebira women in Ebiraland. We know you enjoyed you found the article resourceful? Please, do not forget to share. Thanks for reading (Avoh).

 

 

 

 

 

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