I had promised in "https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/why-it-took-thirty-years-to-bury-my-townsman/" that I'd write about an aspect of Igbo Funerals I'd neglected in my earlier offerings on the subject. One of the funerals I attended on my last trip to Nigeria's Southeast was to that for a woman who died and was buried ten years ago. She was one of three wives and had died without children. Because her husband had died before her, and been without children, it seemed there was no one to help carry her cross, in terms of giving her a funeral, which is believed to be a prerequisite for full passage of the Igbo dead to the great beyond. Funerals are very important in the Igbo culture. Indeed I stated when I started this series, that at the heart of the formation of Igbo town and village unions scattered allover the world, is the need that every member is given a befitting burial at the time of death, most importantly back in the homeland, and especially within one's homestead, with exceptions for children, unmarried females and others whose circumstances surrounding their deaths preclude and forbid their burial back in the homeland, and therefore could be buried elsewhere, for which I've severally described the Southeast as a huge cemetery. In fact, if one paid all other dues payable to the town and village unions, and at time of death, is found to be defaulting in paying "condolence dues", such a person stands the risk of not been accorded his/her full rights by the town or village union s/he belongs to, in the diaspora, where the s/he lives (if s/he lives outside of the homeland), and on the homeland. An Igbo adult male (with his wife) who lives outside the homeland usually belongs to town and village unions at home and abroad, and must be financially responsible to both, as long as he lives. It is also considered nobler to attend a burial or funeral, than a wedding, child dedication ceremony, house-warming etc, because the Igbo believe that the one who accords his own a burial and befitting funeral, is automatically wetting the floor for his own, in the Igbo saying thus rendered, "Onye Kwalu Mmadu, Kwalu Onwe Ya". An Igbo person who dies, and is buried without a funeral, has not been spoken for in the land of the dead, and will be denied some rights due those who've passed onto that great beyond. This answers several queries I've received concerning my last blog post (the link of which I've posted above in this post), about the man that was finally buried and given a funeral after thirty years, as to why it was necessary that the man be buried at all, when he could've been cremated. The immediate family also understood this, hence they continued to assure the mortuary authorities of their intention to eventually come for the body of their own, and thus preventing the possibility of the remains been added to those given a mass burial by mortuary authorities, of bodies that remain unclaimed after a long period of time. One family I know had to hurriedly put together funds to give their late father a funeral, because during the kindred's family meeting, a diviner revealed that that family's late father was not happy on the other side, because he'd not had his funeral, and as such was been denied his full rights. This revelation was made to the diviner, not by the deceased, but by the deceased's great grandfather and the one whose name the kindred uses to name themselves (even while they have different surnames), who claimed he'd been the one feeding and sheltering the "unfuneraled" man, since he crossed over. The woman whose story brought this post up, was a stepmother to my friend, and member of my age-grade. He must've been advised to step up and grant her a funeral, seeing as she had no child of her own, and no one seemed interested, and even if they were, they would also not be in the position to accord the woman her right, nor receive the accolade and all that comes with it, for literally "taking up her cause". In organising this funeral for her, my friend leveraged on the law that was enacted not so recently by the town union which the "Igwe" accented to (though not without protests from the towns' women), that allowed bereaved members of my town to give their deceased loved ones a "befitting" burial (by presenting just drinks in the form of alcohol, soft drinks with garden eggs and peanut butter, without food and other excesses that usually accompany lavish Igbo funerals), without breaking the bank. https://youtu.be/6x-gABXCFm4 In fact, those who intend to make elaborate funerals in my town have to pay a fine of ₦20,000 (a compromise reached, following the protests from the women, who insisted that their children must give them elaborate burials and funerals by any means possible). Though my friend didn't do the elaborate funeral for his late stepmother, he made provisions for food, and more drinks at his stepmother's hometown, next to ours, for those willing to accompany him in symbolically returning the kitchen utensils she purportedly used while alive i.e. "Ibu Naga L'Ozu Ngiga", with all that that entails, which I wrote about in "https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/the-igbo-and-funerals-6/" to her people, in fulfilment of what's been the end of the cycle of life for the Igbo woman, usually of Anambra extraction. Having done this, my friend covered the shame of his late stepmother, by ensuring that she was spoken for amongst the living and among the dead, ensuring that all rights due her in the hereafter, will henceforth be accorded her without let. 'kovich THE IGBO AND FUNERALS (7) https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/the-igbo-and-funerals-7/

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