Relatives and friends arrive in all black and take seats in the church or synagogue pews for a somber ceremony where prayers are said, memories are shared and tears are shed. In Tana Toraja in eastern Indonesia, funerals are raucous affairs involving the whole village. They can last anywhere from days to weeks. Funeral practices are deeply ingrained in culture and around the globe hugely varied traditions reflect a wide spread of beliefs and values.

Louisiana Rituals: The Deaths of 5th Ward Weebie (rapper) & Cajun Beat (horse).

Here, a look at just a few of funeral traditions that might strike someone outside a culture as odd. The New Orleans jazz funeral. Fusing West African, French and African-American traditions, funerals in New Orleans strike a unique balance between joy and grief as mourners are lead by a marching band.

The band plays sorrowful dirges at first, but once the body is buried, they shift to an upbeat note. Cathartic dancing is generally a part of the event, to commemorate the life of the deceased. South Korean burial beads. Because of dwindling graveyard space and this resulting law, cremation has become much more popular. Several companies there compress remains into gem-like beads in turquoise, pink or black.

Filipino death traditions. Many ethnic groups in the Philippines have unique funeral practices. When someone becomes ill, they select the tree where they will eventually be entombed. Meanwhile, the Apayo, who live in the north, bury their dead under the kitchen. Sky burial in Mongolia and Tibet. Many Vajrayana Buddhists in Mongolia and Tibet believe in the transmigration of spirits after death — that the soul moves on, while the body becomes an empty vessel.

To return it to the earth, the body is chopped into pieces and placed on a mountaintop, which exposes it to the elements — including vultures. Green funerals. In the United States, more and more people are opting for environmentally friendly burials. This means skipping embalming processes, nixing traditional concrete vaults and getting biodegradable, woven-willow caskets, which decompose into the ground.It is especially in the realms of ritual, festival, food, and music as expressive cultural forms that Creole identity within the region is asserted and through which the culture as a whole is recognized, though often misrepresented, nationally and internationally.

Religious Beliefs. Creoles are, like most southern Louisianians, predominantly Catholic. Southern Louisiana has the largest per capita Black Catholic population in the country. Historically, the Creole churches and parishes, especially those in rural areas and some poorer urban neighborhoods, have been viewed by the church as missionary districts. In addition to various Irish and French-Canadian clergy who have worked in Louisiana, the Baltimore-based Josephite Fathers have long operated in the Black Creole communities.

Beyond the official dogma and structures of the Catholic church, a wide range of folk religious practices has flourished, drawing upon African influences, medieval Catholicism, African-American belief and ritual systems, and Native American medicinal and belief systems. Home altars with saints, statues, and holy water are widely used. Houses are trimmed with blessed palms or magnolias in the form of crosses over the doors.

Creole Louisiana is probably best known for its association with voodoo voudun in Haiti as an Afro-Catholic set of religious practices. Unlike Haiti, Louisiana Black Catholics have remained more connected to official church practices; thus African retentions are less marked.

The practices of healers, spiritualists, and voodoo specialists who utilize an eclectic mix of prayers, candles, special saints, and charms for good or ill is carried on in settings that range from grossly commercial to private within neighborhoods and Communities.

Probably the strongest carrier of African-based religious tradition in both Creole and non-Creole Black communities in New Orleans are the spiritual churches. These locally based institutions emphasize spirit possession and ecstatic behavior as part of their service, and unlike such churches elsewhere, they utilize a wide range of Catholic saints and syncretic altars for power figures like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Michael the Archangel, and Chief Blackhawk. In rural areas, the new charismatic Catholicism has also been Influential. Religious Practitioners. Traditional healers in rural Black Creole and Cajun communities are called traiteurs. Although linked to Catholicism, Mardi Gras has pre-Christian roots which in turn combined with African and a variety of New World traditions to become the major celebratory occasion of the year.

In New Orleans, the festival draws large numbers of tourists and has a public focus on elite parades. Blacks and Black Creoles participate in two significant forms of public carnival celebration. One is the Zulu parade, which involves middle- and upper-middle-class participants parodying the White carnival and stereotypes of Blacks by painting their own faces black, wearing wooly wigs and grass skirts, and carrying spears while throwing coconuts to the crowds.

The other major group includes dozens of bands of working-class men dressed in fanciful versions of Plains Indians costumes of beads, feathers, and ribbons. Rural Creole Mardi Gras influenced by Cajun culture involves more of a French mumming tradition of going from house to house with men dressed as women, devils, Whites, and strangers to the community. Mardi Gras is not exclusive to Black Creoles, but in both urban and rural instances they are occasions utilized to express Creole style and social boundaries through traditional public performances.

Creole music is often associated with carnival occasions. In its mingling of styles to create a new music, jazz is analogous to Black Creole history and culture and is truly a Creole music that has transformed America and the world. Zydeco is the music of Black Creoles in southwestern Louisiana. It is a synthesis of Cajun tunes, African-American blues, and Caribbean rhythms.

The word zydeco les haricots literally translates from Creole as "snapbeans. Performed on accordion and violin with Creole vocals and a rhythm section augmented by a hand-scraped frottoir rubbing boardzydeco music brings together the full range of the Creole community for weekly dances at bars and church halls, the only exception being the Lenten season.

All these Creole expressive cultural forms of festival and music to which could be added Creole cuisine have come to mark this African-Mediterranean cultural group as unique within America but related to other Creole societies in the Caribbean, South America, and West Africa.

Creoles and creolization of cultural elements set much of the regional tone for southern Louisiana. Their expressive culture has been national and worldwide in impact.This article on funeral planning is provided by Everplans — The web's leading resource for planning and organizing your life. Create, store and share important documents that your loved ones might need.

You could have a traditional funeral It is common that a funeral pyre is used in at least one part of this practice. In this practice, the body is cremated and pressed into jewelry-like beads.

They are often colorful and kept in an urn or bottle. To attract a crowd, some families hire strippers, host dances, and set out elaborate feasts to entice people to attend. The people of Sagada in the Philippines believed that the closer a coffin was to the sky, the closer the deceased was to heaven.

There the dead sit smoking for several weeks. The jade was cut into square, rectangular, and triangular shapes and threaded with wire to cover the entire body, like a suit of armor. They were extremely expensive and took years to complete.

A jazz procession leads the deceased from the funeral home or church to the grave, playing dirges and sad music all the way.

Afterwards, the band plays merrier music at a post-funeral party where the life of the deceased is celebrated. The family of the deceased will polish, oil, preserve, and display this skull in their homes. Sometimes offerings of food and tobacco are made to it. They re-wrap the dead, perfume them, dance with them, and share stories.

Post Mortem photographs were common. Jewelry and tokens with the hair of the dead were also prized and often given as affectionate gifts. Since there is little wood for burning bodies in Tibet, a practice of allowing vultures to pick the bodies clean evolved. Once picked clean, the bones are ground up and fed to crows. Then they allow hungry dogs and birds to devour the corpse, leaving only the outline -- a representation of its spirit.

Skip to main content. Funeral Planning. Related Topics funeral traditions.The Cajuns are a distinct cultural group of people who have lived mainly in south-central and Southwestern Louisiana since the late eighteenth century. In the past, because of their Acadian heritage, residential localization, unique language, and Roman Catholicismit was relatively easy to distinguish Cajuns from other groups in Lousiana.

Today, their identity is less clear. Cajuns in Louisiana today are a distinct cultural group, separate from the Acadians of Nova Scotia. Like the Appalachians and Ozarkers, they are considered by outsiders to be a traditional folk Culture with attention given to their arts and craftsfood, music, and dance. The name "Cajuns" is evidently an English mispronunciation of "Acadians.

Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. This region includes coastal marshes, swamps, prairies, and levee land. In recent decades, as the region has experienced economic development and population shifts, the boundaries of Acadiana have blurred. And the Cajuns are not the only residents of these parishes, which include non-Cajun Whites of various ethnic backgrounds, African-Americans, Black Creoles, and others.

In the s there were aboutCajuns in Louisiana.

cajun death rituals

After Acadians began arriving in Louisiana, perhaps as early asthe population increased rapidly, from about 6, in to 35, in toin Linguistic Affiliation.

Language use by Cajuns is a complex topic, with the relationship between the speakers and the social context often determining what language is spoken.

Black Creoles of Louisiana - Religion and Expressive Culture

Cajun French is the language commonly associated with the Cajun culture, though many Cajuns no longer speak it fluently and its use has declined markedly in the younger generation. Older Cajuns speak Cajun French in the home and with other Cajuns. Cajun French differs from standard French in the use of some archaic forms of pronunciation, the inclusion of various loan words from English, American Indian, Spanish, and African languagesand a simplified grammar.Dinner had to be something that could cook by itself.

Many still add andouille sausage or tasso ham, too. The meal is easy, inexpensive, flavorful, and ubiquitous in households and restaurants; sometimes you can even get it for free in a dive bar, especially when the New Orleans Saints are playing on Monday Night Football.

The top is glazed and sprinkled with colored sugar purple, green, and gold—the official Mardi Gras colors that represent justice, faith and power. The cakes are available at grocery stores, restaurants, and coffee shops, and some are filled with decadent flavored cream cheese, while other bakers prefer the more traditional, less sticky-sweet variety.

Chew carefully, though; king cakes also feature a single, small plastic baby inside, which represents the Baby Jesus. Every year, New Orleanians join together to revel during Carnival season. The season, which lasts until Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras, is full of celebrations, parades, street parties, concerts, and other special events, which take place all across the city and draw in thousands upon thousands of visitors.

The event is followed by Ash Wednesday and Lent, the season of repenting and reflecting, until Easter. Originally, it was a meal served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. It began as more of a family tradition, in the home, but now it has evolved, and is served in various restaurants around the city, often at a fixed-price for four or more courses. Evacuating during hurricane season is difficult; no one wants to sit in a hot car in backed-up traffic for hours worrying if they are going to have anything to come back to.

Many of the storms also end up dissipating or switch directions before making landfall. So, while we wait for hurricanes to strike, we keep an eye on the news and head to the store to load up on supplies non-perishable snacks, ingredients that can be thrown on a grill, in case the power goes out, bottled water, and a lot of booze. Then we have friends come over to hunker down together. Do not confuse a snowball with a snow conewhich is ubiquitous across the country. While the concepts are similar, the texture of a snowball is far superior.

We have Ernest and Mary Hansen to thank for that. The iconic snowball stand is still family-owned and operated by his descendants, and a number of other snowball stands and shops exist all over the city using the technology he pioneered. Inexpensive and refreshing, snowballs are an essential survival tool and a sweet, simple treat for getting through the hot, humid summers.

Tip: for a truly decadent delight, order your flavor of choice, and ask for it to be served with sweetened condensed milk. Super Sunday, held on the Sunday in March that is closest to St. On this day, they don intricate, hand-made feathered suits as they march in a procession through the streets of their neighborhoods. Each tribe and their Big Chief tries to outdo the other in a friendly competition, witnessed by appreciative spectators.

While they parade, often as individual tribes, throughout the year, Super Sunday is the day where they all gather to demonstrate this rich historical tradition. The most popular gathering spot to witness this is in the Central City neighborhood. Select currency. New Orleans is full of interesting traditions that stem from its European and Afro-Caribbean roots.New Orleans musician and jazz legend Louis Armstrong was asked by a reporter if jazz was a form of folk music.

His legendary reply was, "Pops, all music is folk music.

cajun death rituals

I ain't never heard a horse sing a song. We do, however, recognize the differences between official doctrine and actual practice, particularly those "views and practices of religion that exist among the people apart from and alongside the strictly theological and liturgical forms of the official religion" Yoder Unofficial religious customs and traditions are certainly a part of Roman Catholicism as it is practiced by Cajuns, Creoles, and other groups in southern Louisiana who also practice the official, organized religion.

Don Yoder and other scholars agree that folk religion does not oppose a central religious body, but represents unofficial practices and ideas that have a dynamic relationship to official religion. As Amanda Banks notes, folk religion "includes those aspects that are often unsanctioned or not canonized by an official religion but are practiced as part of the religious experience" Banks Leonard Primiano, who feels that "folk" is a marginalizing term that sets it in opposition to "official" religion, has proposed the term vernacular religion instead for this type of religion, i.

As Primiano points out, even members of the religious hierarchy themselves are believing and practicing vernacularly The "folk" are us. In southern Louisiana, however, cultural Catholicism may be a better descriptive term, both because it avoids the possibly marginalizing connotations of "folk" and because it signifies the pervasive influence of non-official Catholicism in this region.

Southern Louisiana, unlike other areas of the South, is a place where Catholics are the norm, a region of cultural Catholicism-not only a religion as it is lived and practiced, but also as it affects the cultural beliefs, practices, worldview, and identity of the majority of the people. In the culture of the Cajuns and Creoles, the sacred and secular are often conflated. The Church and its rituals are central in the life cycle and throughout the calendar year-evident from Mardi Gras certainly at the secular or profane end of the continuum to All Saints Day where the sacred is more privileged.

The unifying potential of cultural communion and sacramental renewal is present in the rituals and secular sacraments of Louisiana's Cajuns and Creoles. An emotional connection with the cultural rituals as well as the official sacraments has colored their vision of the world.

Cultural Catholicism in Louisiana is not only a matter of theology. It is based on the traditional interactions and rituals of the Cajuns, Creoles of color, and others of European Catholic heritage-people who shared not only a common religion, but also a common region, heritage, and language distinctively different from the rest of the country. My use of the term "cultural Catholicism" is not intended in the way that Kieran Quinlan uses it, distinguishing among Catholic novelists, "some of whom are 'cultural Catholics,' others true believers" 9.

My use is based rather on the ideas of folk belief scholar David Hufford who uses the term to include both sacred belief and secular worldview and practice Hufford Hufford stresses the cultural importance of Catholic tradition and devotional practices. He recognizes that some sacramentals are officially taught like the rosary or the sign of the cross and others are unofficial, what might be called "folk sacramentals" such as the use of holy water, blessed candles, and blessed palms to protect a house during storms.Religious Beliefs.

The Cajuns were and are mainly Roman Catholic. Experts suggest that the traditional culture cannot be understood unless the central role of the Catholic church is considered.

cajun death rituals

On the one hand, their Roman Catholic beliefs set the Cajuns apart from the surrounding population, which was mainly Baptist and Methodist. On the other hand, the church was a visible and active participant in family and Social life in every community. The priest was often a major figure in the community, setting the moral tone and serving as a confidant and adviser as necessary. All life events such as birth, marriage, and death required church rituals as did many daily events, with the blessing of fields, tools, boats, and so on an integral part of the work cycle.

There were also numerous festivals and feast days of religious significance. Perhaps more important, the church teachings formed the belief system underlying Cajun social organization. Male dominance in the home, stable marriages, large families, and so on were all in accord with the requirements of the church. In addition, Roman Catholicism as practiced in Acadiana created an atmosphere that allowed the celebration of life, or "la joie de vivre," so characteristic of Cajun culture.

All the major Roman Catholic holidays were celebrated by the Cajuns. Mardi Gras was the most important festival, with local communities celebrating in ways often much different than that in New Orleans. Public dances balsfestivals, and feasts were regularly held in Cajun Communities. All usually involved community dinners, dancing, playing, drinking beer, and music making, and all were family affairs with the entire family participating.

Although they occur now less often, public dances, especially the fais do-do, are still important social events for the extended family.

Dances, parties, and other opportunities to have a good time are an integral element of the Cajun life-style. Numerous other festivals are held in Acadiana each year, many of which are harvest festivals focusing on local crops such as sugar cane, rice, crawfish, and shrimp.

cajun death rituals

With their current status as a folk culture, considerable interest has developed in the expressive elements of traditional Cajun culture, especially the music and food.

Both are unique cultural forms, with a French base combined with elements drawn from American Indian, Spanish, African, British, and German cultures. Both have also changed over the years as new features have been added. Today, Cajun music comes in a variety of styles, the two most prominent being the country-western style and zydeco, which reflects the influence of Black rhythm and blues. Cajun music involves a band, singing, and sometimes foot-stomping. The particular instruments vary with the style, though the fiddle and accordion have been basic instruments for some time.

Indonesian Tribe's Traditional Funeral Rituals: Mass Buffalo Sacrifice