Funerals

The mourning process is heavily ritualised in a way intended to make the grief physical and present so that the family might better move on following the loss.

For three days following the death all who shared any sort of link with the deceased enter into mourning. Hair is cut close to the scalp (short hair is a symbol of mourning), clothing is ritually torn and ashes are rubbed into the skin, hair and clothing. The women of the family are responsible for cleaning up the body and preparing it for the coming funeral. When it can be afforded the family will also annoint the body with scented oils, incense, gold dust and flowers.

Su'dni religion states that the spirit must be freed from the body if it is not to corrupt and begin to effect the surrounding life. As a result they practice the traditions of sky burial and cremation. Cremation is the more prestigious of the ceremonial choices as it requires the sacrifice of great quantities of precious wood and thus Sky burial is the more usual option.

The burial takes place just before dawn three days after the death and is attended only by those who shared a blood bond with the deceased. The body is brought from it's resting place by the men of the family and either laid upon the pyre or within the funeral wagon. Each family member will then place an item that the deceased valued to travel to the celestials along with the departed. They offer a few words to honour the deceased and/or to explain their choice as they place the item with the body. The women then shed a few tears to symbolise the river upon which the dead must travel to reach the afterlife and the men shed a few drops of blood to symbolise the family which the deceased strengthened and honoured during their life.

The holy man will offer a few words of comfort to those who mourn before lighting the pyre or covering the funeral wagon. If a holy man is not available then this duty will fall to the family patriarch (or his representative). When a cremation is being performed the guests will remain and watch. When a sky-burial is being performed the body will be moved to one of the sacred sky-burial cairns half a days travel from the settlement and laid out for the vultures to consume.

Funerals are a symbol of family status and much is read into the cost of the ceremony.