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kev mob kev tuag

by Micha F. Lindemans

The "way of death," a complex Hmong funeral rite to ensure that the soul of the deceased has a safe passage to the Otherworld and that it reincarnates as a member of the same clan. The manner of death determines the type of rite: those who have died a mysterious or violent death do not receive the full mortuary rites. In stead, the bodies are often disposed of as quickly as possible, and with the barest of preliminaries, because it is believed that they will assume the form of hungry ghosts. If the family wishes to have a funeral, the body may not be carried out of the house through the door, but through a newly-made opening in the side of the house.

The same is done with the bodies of still-born children and children who have died within three days after birth. These children do not yet have a soul because they have not undergone the soul-calling and naming rituals and so the funeral rites can not be performed for them.


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