The fascinating rites practiced by the Urhobos during funerals

Nigeria is one nation that has a diverse culture. Despite the westernization, lots of people still stick to their age-long tradition when it comes to things like funerals and weddings.

Urhobos[connectnigeria]

For the Urhobos from the southern part of Nigeria, their funeral rites are every bit fascinating.

When a person dies, the next thing is their burial. For the Urhobos, there are, however, lots of rites that need to be done before the person is finally laid to rest.

The whole funeral usually takes three to seven days depending on the family of the person that died.

One thing that is very important is that any Urhobo person who dies of natural causes and has lived a long life cannot be buried outside in an open field as the tradition says they must be buried in a house.

This implies that the deceased is buried in a house they built in their village or if they do not have any of such, the children are compelled to build a house where their dead parent can be buried.

For those who are not buoyant enough to erect such, they beckon on their family members to assist. It is believed that burying an Urhobo outside leads to damning consequences on their children as this means they have left their dead parent outside in the rain.

Also, in Urhobo land, when a person dies, they are to be brought back home to be buried on their own piece of land and house that has been built for them.

In some very rare cases where a person dies outside the country and there are no means to bring the person back home, the family is asked to cut the finger nails of the deceased and bring it back home to be buried the same way the corpse was supposed to be buried.

The funeral itself begins with what is called the wake keeping where family members and well wishers of the deceased stay up all night with the corpse, with music and drinking.

For some, they have now replaced this with service of songs which could be done a day before the burial. Another funeral rites that has been abandoned by some persons is that in which female children of the deceased are made to cut their hair in honour of their dead parent.

On the day of the burial, the coffin is placed at the venue of the occasion with the eldest daughter of the deceased sitting in front of it. She is required to say good things about the deceased.

Then the other female children will dance around the coffin. After this, all the children of the deceased will go round all the canopies of the invited guests and greet them with chants of “wado, wado.” This is done thrice and at each table, they drop kola and money to appreciate their guests.

There is also the part where all the children gather round and start dancing and then they are sprayed money. At the end of this ceremony, the corpse is taken to the part of the house where a grave has been dug for the person to be buried.

After the burial itself, the next agenda is what is termed “in-law greeting.” This is where everyone who married into the family of the deceased picks a day to pay condolences to the grieving family. This could go on for days depending on how many in-laws are in the family.

For the in-law greeting, the family members give the in-law a list of what they will be using to entertain them when they arrive. The in-law in this case is expected to bring double of whatever the family will use to welcome them.

In-law greeting in the Urhobo funeral begins with shooting of fire power, then there is singing and dancing. There is also a tradition where the lady whose husband is coming to greet her family takes a drink and pours it on her husband’s leg.

As soon as she makes this move, someone from the family quickly flings it from her hand. No idea why this happens, but it is part of the rites.

There is also the part of Urhobo funeral rites tradition where they kill two goats, one at the beginning of the funeral and the other at the end. This is shared and eaten by all the family members and it is said that this is meant for cleansing.

In all these, one thing to note is that the Urhobos do not discriminate when it comes to female or male burials as the same tradition is done for both genders.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

The 8 outfits Porsha Williams wore on her wedding day were exceptional

The 8 outfits Porsha Williams wore on her wedding day were exceptional

5 places to eat delicious African meals in Lagos

5 places to eat delicious African meals in Lagos

Nigeria emerges top in London African beauty pageant

Nigeria emerges top in London African beauty pageant

Amazing health benefits of Melon (Egusi)

Amazing health benefits of Melon (Egusi)

10 most populated countries in the world

10 most populated countries in the world

If you have dark lips try these 2 natural remedies

If you have dark lips try these 2 natural remedies

5 Best acne cleansers for all skin types

5 Best acne cleansers for all skin types

Pulse Fiesta 2022: Lagos’ biggest festival in December

Pulse Fiesta 2022: Lagos’ biggest festival in December

How couples can use sex toys to spice their sex life

How couples can use sex toys to spice their sex life