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Funeral And Burial Customs In Egypt

1898 words - 8 pages

To embalm means to treat a dead body so as to preserve it, as with chemicals, drugs, or balsams; also, to keep in memory and to cause to remain unchanged. A funeral is a ceremony which is often a time when loved ones can say their final goodbyes and talk about the good times they had with the person who has died. In Egypt, embalmment and funerals are combined to form an ancient custom that seems to blow the minds of many. Egyptians believe that the dead must be treated with great care. They also believe that the way someone lives their life determines how good their afterlife will be. Many difficult techniques were used to preserve the bodies of the dead, proving that the ancient Egyptians were actually quite intelligent. Using these techniques, the internal organs were removed and the body is dehydrated. Another part of their custom is the ceremony, where the body is buried and the living can make accusations against the dead. These accusations have the chance to change the outcome of the ceremony. Through the use of embalmment and a well thought out ceremony process, the Egyptians have developed astoundingly effective customs that help to preserve and honor the dead.
If there were a death in the royal family, the entire country wept and all temples were closed as a 72 day period of mourning began. During these 72 days, there were no sacrifices or festivals. The people also didn’t consume wheat, meat, wine, or dainty fare and they didn’t use baths or unguents, recline on couches, or make love. Another custom involving 200 to 300 people is quite unique; they would put mud on their heads and clothes and go around twice a day singing on the streets to praise the dead. On the 72nd day of mourning, the coffin containing the now mummified body was placed at the entrance of a custom-made tomb. A priest is called upon to perform the oration and to determine whether they had lived a good life or not. All the people were then allowed to make accusations against the dead; this is how the priest was able to determine whether they had lived a good life or not. If he determined that the life lived was a good one, he gave his approval and the afterlife would be a rewarding one. If he determined that the life lived was a bad one however, he would give disapprobation and the afterlife would be punishing. Kings strived to live a life of justice in fear that their dead body would be maltreated and their memory cursed.
While the mourning process for a royal member is pretty extravagant, the same process is quite different for a gentleman. When the mummified body is ready for burial, the relatives notify friends and some other very important people: the judges. These judges, of which there are 40, sit in a semi-circle above a lake over which the body must pass. Before the coffin containing the dead is placed in a boat and set afloat over the previously mentioned lake, people are given the chance to make accusations against them. The judges must decide based on...

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