Liminality / Mourning

By Monica Demott
(formerly University of Iowa)

Asante peoples, Ghana, burial. Photo by Karen Terpstra.

Funerals or memorial services are among the most important events within a community.  They are an expression of a society's most deeply held beliefs about life and the spiritual world from which we come and to which we ultimately return.  Funerals are held months, or even years, after a death so that the family can prepare a feast for the entire village.  The deceased's body may or may not be present at the funeral.  Burial is usually a private event, with little ceremony, that takes place soon after death.  Here, pallbearers at an Asante funeral in Ghana lower the coffin into the grave.