African Cultural Beliefs

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by SmolOne
Last updated 5 years ago

Social Studies
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African Cultural Beliefs

In the cultural views on death and dying in Africa, life does not end in death, it simply continues in another realm. To them, there is no true division between life and death, instead they have different levels of life and death. "We are living little," means there is sickness. In Africa "ancestors" are people who have died but continue living on in the community.

1. Traditionally, the funeral takes place in the early morning (often before sunrise) and not late in the afternoon, as it is believed that sorcerers move around in the afternoons looking for corpses to use for their evil purposes. Because sorcerers are asleep in the early morning, this is a good time to bury the dead.2.In some communities children and unmarried adults are not allowed to attend the funeral. 3.The goal of life is to become an ancestor after death. This is why every person who dies must be given a "correct" funeral, supported by a number of religious ceremonies.

African Cultural Beliefs

The Africans begin the funeral with a request that the deceased doesn't bring trouble to the living, and end with a plea that they protect and strengthen the life on earth.

Burial Rituals

During the burial itself the immediate family of the deceased is expected to stay together on one side of the grave at a designated place. They are forbidden from speaking or taking any vocal part in the funeral. Mourning usually continues for at least a week after the funeral. During this time the bereaved stay at home and do not socialize.

In African religion, usually an animal is killed in ritual, this also serves the practical purpose of providing food for guests. Personal belongings are usually buried with the person to help with the journey. Others kill the animals, mostly ox, some time after the funeral because it is believed the animal accompanies the person back to their family. Another thing is when someone has died in a house, all the windows are smeared with ash, all pictures in the house turned around and all mirrors and televisions and any other reflective objects are covered.

Funerals and Death Cerimonies

Respect Towards Families

Other Facts

Respect Towards Families

"Death and Dying." African Religions. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2015.

Death and Dying


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