Navajo Death Rituals
The Navajo people have a troubled and long history. Though they suffered from the past, they maintained their ancient customs and traditions. They also geared toward family life and events that surround their lifestyle.
One of the most observed traditions of Navajo people is the proper death rituals. To know more about the Navajo death rituals, here they are:
• Fear of the Dead - Every Navajo had a great fear of their dead. They believed that the spirit of the dead would return to land of the living, especially when they are not properly buried. In fact, even at present days, embalming is not allowed and bodies must be buried with a concise ceremony soon after death. To ensure that the dead will never come back, they take serious precautions. That is why, they immediately buried the dead after a proper ceremony.
• Traditional Beliefs – It is the part of Navajo people to require three members of the family to enfold the dead body in a coverlet after cleansing. Then, they have to load the body on a newly acquired horse. The three members of the family need to trek as far North as possible. They also need to pick a funeral ground and conceal the body. Afterwards, the horse needs to be slayed and buried. They believed that the dead person would take the new horse on the journey to the life after death.
• Handling the Body – Navajo people think that it is better to die away from home like in a hospital. Through this, the spirit would not linger in their house. In a traditional way, the body of the deceased would be cleaned. They should also be clothed by two men wearing only moccasins. When it comes to their naked bodies, they should be enclosed with ash. This ash serves as their protector from the evil spirits. While doing these Navajo death rituals, other family members would not partake. At present, Navajo people still see the body as a blessed vessel. Thus, when someone dies, the body is left alone. The body should not be embalmed and the burial must come to pass as quickly as possible after the funeral ceremony.
• Burial Customs – The Navajo people were conventionally required to follow a couple of things after the death of their loved ones. If a person passed away at home, the home itself required to be damaged. Thus, they should be burned by the surviving family members. Then, the body of the deceased would also be burned. The family members of the deceased would stand in the firing house to purify themselves.
Since they perform various Navajo death rituals, they ensure that everything is in order. They always ensure that everyone will follow the rituals.
In case you already witnessed how they performed these Navajo death rituals, then, you will understand why they are very serious with their traditions. Either you are a Navajo or not, you have to respect their traditions and customs. Through getting some clues about the Navajo death rituals, you will easily know what makes their tradition and ritual unique.