Gerenian funerary and burial practices

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Gerenian funerary practices include the Gerenian's rituals concerning funerals and burials.

Vision of death

According to the Gerenian mythology, the Universe is ruled by "Nature forces", which interact with each other and with matter, causing things to happen. Life is seen as the result of interaction between some of the forces (in changing proportions, and most notably Atsmendar, the "Life Force") and the matter a body is made of. Death, as opposed to life, is considered a state in which the Life Force is absent in an organism.

When a person dies, their body becomes vadal nekațes ("matter without life"). The purpose of the funeral ritual is to prepare the body so the Nature forces can interact with it in different manners and proportions, and the soul of the deceased person can be liberated from the body.

The ritual

The entire ritual usually takes two days: in the first day, the body is prepared for the burial, and in the second day, the burial takes place.

Preparation of the body

In the first day of the ritual, the body is wrapped with a white linen. The arms are put at both sides of the body, and the legs are put together. In case there are parts or organs separated from the body (for example, after a violent death), they are put back where they belong. The body is then covered with perfumed clothings to neutralize the odor. Finally, the body is wrapped with goat hides which are later sewn, forming a "capsule".

At night, the relatives of the deceased person carry the capsule to the place where it will be buried.

Burial

Unlike other parts of the world, Gerenia has no cemeteries. Bodies are buried in patios or gardens. If there is none in a house, the burial can take place in forests, barren lands, waste grounds, or even in city parks.

The burial ceremony begins when the grave is digged. After putting the capsule in the grave, the attendees sing funeral songs, recite poems, and tell anecdotes related to the deceased. Then they have a meal of spinach tortillas and bitter tea. Some tea and tortillas are put next to the body, so they all can share a last meal.

After the dinner, the body is covered with earth. In the place, a tree or plant is seeded, so the vadal nekațes can be transmitted to a new form of life.

Commemoration

During the day after the burial, during the meals a chair is left empty. Also, in a wall of the house, it is hung a plaque with the name of the dead, and the dates of birth and death. The poems and anecdotes read in the burial are attached next to the plaque.

As time passes and the tree or plant seeded grows, ribbons with the name of the deceased are tied to them.