Christianity and Igbo Traditional Burial/ Funeral Rites: Dialogue or Conflict?
By Coal City University et al
Uploaded by: Coal City University
A few years ago our next door (actually next house) neighbour lost her father. After paying a condolence visit to the family of the diseased, I left the village with the date of the funeral.
As soon as I arrived home for the funeral on the agreed date, I noticed my mother pacing up and down and looking gravely worried. As she walked towards my car, I knew something was wrong. Hardly acknowledging my greeting she announced “you are not going in there because they have decided to do the funeral in the traditional way instead of the Christian* way.” We stared at each other for several minutes before I managed to ask “what in particular have they done? “They did not invite the Catholic Church as a group”, she retorted. In Imilike, at the time, what essentially determined whether a burial/funeral was classified either as traditional or Christian was whether the funeral cow was handed over to the oldest man (onyishi) in the village or to the Chairman of Catholic community. Cautious of her mood, I requested that we get into our house and talk over the matter. We talked and talked and talked but the difficulties and the complexities of the situation at hand including the fact that, naturally, some items such as cooking utensils, chairs, etc usually borrowed from neighbours had already moved from our house to the house of the bereaved and yet I am expected not to move over to say hello.
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Coal City University