It turns out that there’s little evidence for the “Five Stages of Grief” you may have heard about in school. There’s even less evidence for any real universality in the way that people express their grief. Be sure to ask for a traditional Cubeo funeral for a send-off everyone will remember. I recommend this as a fitting hymn.
When we look at other cultures we see even starker differences. On the Pacific coast of Colombia the death of a young child will be marked by with a Chigualo celebration, based on the belief that departed infants become angels and go directly to heaven. The Ganda people of south-central Uganda have a strict prohibition of sexual activity during the mourning period, while the Cubeo people of the northern Amazon include sexual activity as part of the wake. Many cultures have funeral rites to ensure that spirits of the departed leave; in an Igbo funeral, the rites are meant to ensure that they stay.
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