More than live or die, new horizons network




Funeral Culture

Mosuo people -- Observing death with open mind

On mentioning Mosuo people, we always come to one thing: the "running marriage", which means " there are no traditional marriages. If they love each other, the man will go to the woman's house and leave the following morning. When a child is born, it is the female who is responsible for raising. The one that the man raise is his sister's child!"

As a matter of fact, their attitude to death is somewhat special and different from others.

When one is about to die, a special room will be prepared to await that moment. The relatives are around. They are not in great grieves because they realize it is natural for everyone to be faced with it.

Then comes the cremation ceremony. There are rites to expel ghosts and dances at the previous night. First, the sorcerer leads the family members to get a board on the roof and a bowl of rice. The former represents the house and the latter represents the food, which combines the meaning of separating property between the living and the dead.

The dance rite is performed by youngsters who wear broadswords and yak hair on the trouser legs. They dance gaily to see the dead off to herding places.

On the exact day, the body will be put in a small wooden cabin. In the meantime, reciting is necessary for sending the soul. They deeply suppose if the fire burns rapidly, it means the soul is leaving quickly too. On the contrary, it means the soul remains there. That's why the relatives of the dead will keep saying, "Just leave at ease and don't follow us!" That is the saddest moment of the ceremony.

In the light of this, we can see that the Mosuo's ceremony does surpass the idea of paying the last attribute. It is an open-minded thought merging the living and dead!



More innovative columns, awaiting your valuable opinions!

2001 copyright reserved by PROLife, . All materials in this site are PROLife's intellectual property. Any kind of privacy is strictly prohibited.