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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Changing burial practices in Nigeria: some evidence from the obituaries
Author:Ogbuagu, S.C.
Periodical:Savanna: A Journal of the Environmental and Social Sciences
Geographic term:Nigeria
Abstract:This paper analyses changes that have occurred in burial practices in Nigeria over the last three to four decades. It examines, amongst others, the cost of newspaper advertisements (based on data from 1983), the length of stay of corpses in the mortuary before burial, modes of conveying corpses for burial, the kind of materials used to decorate the 'viewing' room, the sort of entertainment which must be provided before and after the burial, and the financial difficulties for the bereaved families which are the consequence of these innovations. Data for the analysis were collected from newspaper obituary announcements and interviews with recently bereaved individuals about deaths which occurred in 1983 and 1984. It is clear from the available information that burial practices in Nigeria have become more expensive than was previously the case. Burial preparations actually take much longer these days mainly because of improved preservation methods. Such waiting periods drain the families emotionally, psychologically, financially, and even physically to such an extent that often interments are no longer marked by wailings as was the case in the past. The findings of the study suggest an urgent need for a reappraisal of burying practices in Nigeria (especially among the Christians, who are more deeply involved in such practices than the Muslims), which reduce many families to penury. Bibliogr., notes.