Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Clean Dead

From the strange rituals department, comes this story about the Day of the Dead celebrations in the Yucatan village of Pomuch, where families exhume their dead after three years in the grave and clean their dried bones and skulls – often with hair attached – and then transfer them to wooden crates on permanent display in open funeral niches.

*shudder* I'm glad I'm not a Mayan.


At November 02, 2006 10:50 AM, Blogger Jill said...

Yikes! What happens if they open the grave and nothing is there?

At November 02, 2006 11:24 AM, Blogger Anji said...

I think I'd prefer to leave some flowers.

At November 02, 2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Shover Robot said...

Don't want my head dug up thank you.

At November 02, 2006 11:54 AM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

yikes thats one interesting ritual isnt it Cube!

At November 02, 2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

Why the display? What's the purpose?


I hope they don't stink too badly after three years.

At November 02, 2006 12:55 PM, Blogger cube said...

jill: I don't think that's every come up.

anji: leaving flowers is my preference too.

shover robot: or anything else for that matter ;-)

woman: interesting is one word for it :-0

brooke: I guess that's why they clean the bones first. That way they can commune with their relatives without any interference of the malodorous kind.

At November 02, 2006 12:55 PM, Anonymous s t a c i said...

I would imagine that they think we are filthy people for leaving our dead underground without a little bath every few years.

At November 02, 2006 7:08 PM, Blogger Leon said...

Not strange. I heard of the tradition a while back. Didn't know they cleaned them though.

At November 03, 2006 1:30 AM, Blogger Caz said...

I saw this ritual on the telly a few weeks back, and it was quite facsinating. The entire extended family gets together for the cleaning of the bones, including the little 'uns, but only the close family do the actual cleaning. It's a real party thing, but solomn at the same time.

There would be zero odour after three years. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and all that.

When you think about it, it's quite a committment, and an expression of continuing love. A lot of people don't even visit the grave of loved ones, not even to maintain the burial site. It is sort of icky, but there's a lot of love in the ongoing rituals, which is quite nice really.

At November 03, 2006 3:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post! The world certainly is filled with wonderful and diverse cultures. I learned something new today, thank you.

Thank you for stopping by my site and taking the time to comment.


At November 03, 2006 12:44 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Hey, that makes everyone look thin! Can't begrudge them that :-)

At November 04, 2006 1:27 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

Cube: I meant when they first open the box! PHEW! I'm guessing they don't embalm over there!

At November 04, 2006 8:03 PM, Blogger cube said...

brooke: good question. I don't know for sure, but according to Caz, after 3 years there isn't much left to smell. Maybe that's why they wait. I guess they learned from experience.

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