Tag Archives: African death rituals

The Evolution of After-Tears Parties in South Africa

More young people are bucking tradition and mourning loved ones in their own way

Traditions aren’t static. They constantly warp and evolve with every new generation. This is especially true in South Africa, as younger generations living in urban areas have adopted a brand new burial tradition: after-tears parties. An after-tears party is a time … Continue reading

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There is always a grief ritual happening somewhere in the [Dagara] tribe; it is always a way for people to not only acknowledge the hurt, but also that something else is being born within the self, because grief is a doorway to healing.”

- Sobonfu Somé
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Bathing Rituals Around the World

Cleaning the dead is a tradition that spans across cultures

Whether you’re observing a traditional Buddhist burial rite, or you’re watching the HBO series Six Feet Under, you might see someone methodically bathe a person who has died. In fact, the act of bathing the dead has existed as a tradition … Continue reading

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African Baby Names that Ward Off Death

How some Nigerian parents prevent infant mortality through ritualized naming ceremonies

Chances are good you’ve known someone who was named after a relative. You might even know someone who shares a name with his father, grandfather and great-grandfather — a John Doe IV. Have you ever known someone who was named … Continue reading

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Traditional Inheritance and Burial Rites of the Maasai People

Traditional practices of ‘The Father’s Chest’ and Predator Burials in Maasai culture

For the Maasai people, death does not traditionally hold any secrets of the afterlife. Once an individual has passed, their journey has ended. All of their possessions and any of their sins are transferred to the loved ones who survive … Continue reading

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Bringing the Spirit Home in Xhosa Burial Rituals

How the funeral rites of the Xhosa people of South Africa can transform a spirit into an ancestral guide

For most people, the culture, traditions, and even the existence of the Xhosa people would have remained unknown were it not for the death of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. Although the world will mourn his loss for years to come, with … Continue reading

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