Myself Essay

943 words - 4 pages

Funeral CeremonyImmediately after death, the corpse must be properly washed and dressed in its best clothes. After this, its forehead is marked with three yellow spots of turmeric (kunyit) and finally the corpse is moved to the gallery (ruai) where it is placed inside an enclosure of woven blankets measuring nine feet on each side. Both doors of the 'rumah panjang' must be docked with two rods. They believe that, if this is not done, the ghost of the deceased will bring the spirit of the deceased along with him. Then, the corpse is placed in the center of the house bounded by pua kumbu (pua kumbu is a traditional patterned multicolored ceremonial cotton cloth used by the Iban) called 'sapat',On the next day, just before the funeral takes place, food must be offered to the corpse before it is put inside a coffin; and at the cemetery, the coffin must be buried deep underneath the earth. After the cemetery is set, a chicken is sacrificed on it. The blood of the chicken is used to offer the 'sempulang gana' the body. Inside the coffin is not only the corpse but also includes some of the corpse's treasured belongings. The corpse should never be left alone, as the belongings of the corpse will serve as supply for the life after death.When people return from the burial ground, the windows of the deceased's room must be kept close particularly at night; for it is said that while it is dark in this world, it is light in the afterworld and vice versa. At the same time a senior lady selected to tie up a sacred mourning jar and read a prayer. With the prayer, the soul of the deceased is believed to be taken to heaven without any hindrance. That same evening, a ritual fire (tungkun api) must be lit in a special hut where food is placed for each of three evenings. The reason for this is for fear that the soul of the dead person might stray up to the longhouse and disturb the souls of the living.For the same three days, an old woman will be appointed to eat black rice (asi chelum), which is an indication of the black rice in this world and white rice in the other world during the mourning period. The sacred jar is not to be opened except by a warrior who has managed to obtain a head, or by a man who can present a human head, which he obtained in a fight; or by a man who has returned from a sojourn in enemy country.The mourning period starts immediately after the burial session. The duration of the mourning differs for the family of the corpse and the members of the 'rumah panjang'. For the family members, the mourning period is three months while for the 'rumah panjang' members the period is...

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