Here in America and in most of Canada, we have funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries.
But our traditions are vastly different from those in other countries and cultures.
This article looks at Mozambican funeral traditions and is part of a series that highlights how different cultures care for their dead. Other parts of the series are about Tanzanian funeral traditions and Luo people of Kenya, among others.
Note, these traditions may vary depending on the individual and their own beliefs.
Christianity is Mozambique’s most common religion at 56.1% of the population. The second largest religion is 18.7% of the population who identifies with no religion. However, many of these people practice animism. Sometimes, Christians also may tie some of these animist beliefs into their religious practices.
Those who practice traditional animist beliefs believe that their ancestors’ spirits can affect the living world. Some people even practice communicating with spirits and others use them to talk to the spirits. Many people also believe that evil spirits or witchcraft cause death.
There’s also a belief in spirit possessions that evolved after the Mozambican Civil War, which was from 1975 to October 4, 1992. They believe that these spirits of deceased soldiers can possess women.
Mozambican Funeral and Mourning Customs
For a Mozambican funeral, the whole community mourns the loss. After the burial, family and friends of the deceased shave their hair and wear black clothing. They also don’t go to social events. Mourners support the grieving family by bringing them offerings, such as food, water, or firewood. Or they may offer to run errands for them.