Here is a Voodoo Funeral Ceremony in Lakou Souvenance
Mass graves after the Haitian earthquake in January 2010 were an inevitable consequence of such a catastrophe. But, to a country so steeped in and quixotically dependent on the use of ceremony to assist their departed from this world to the next, ignorance of their loved one's final resting place is difficult for the living to bear. Almost a month from the earthquake, one funeral director revealed he'd handled less than ten funerals. Considering the hundreds of thousands who died, the sum of souls still linked to their earthly bodies is a terrifying concept.
Here is a picture taken during the funeral of Michel Tassy of Septentrional group. He became a member of the musical group at the age of 19. He was a lead singer, administrator for 52 years until his death in 2015.
Minister of Culture Offers Tribute to Michel Tassy
Michel Tassy of the group Septentrional died of a pulmonary failure on June 28th. He was 71. The Minister of Culture, Raton, attended a ceremony for Tassy at Cap Haitien's City Hall where his corpse could be viewed.
Raton offered her sympathies to Tassy's immediate and extended family, and also close friends. The funeral was held at the Cap-Haitien Cathedral. Thousands of Haitians, among them government officials, musicians, and devoted fans, were in attendance.
Lascahobas, a small community resting on the Central Plateau, is an hour's drive from the Dominican Republic. A population of 7,574 residents occupies the hamlet, a market center for the agricultural region surrounding it.
Overwhelmingly Christian, it tolerates the practice of Voodoo. At the start of the new millennium, missionaries of the Episcopal Church have been providing spiritual sustenance to Lascahobas and the communities of Cohoroes, Rantamoulie, La Hoye, and Poulie. Its church, St. Esprit, also operates a school.
Much prayer and crying accompanies the death of a loved one in Haiti. With home being the place most desired for a passing, sojourns are made by all available family members to start the mourning process. The congregation of family is so important that a body is not moved from the home until all family members have gathered. Then, the oldest begins arranging the funeral and another relative washes the dead. When these have been prepared, one of the three mourning practices begins.
The church is packed and the atmosphere is somber. Then, a mighty wail sounds and it is not necessarily coming from a member of the family. Spoken of in the Bible, the sometimes hired 'grievers' that frequent Haitian funerals, are as much a distraction as they are an attraction. They wail and scream and are often seen being carried out of churches kicking and fighting their extractors. It's hard to tell at the beginning of a service just which of the nicely dressed ladies will soon begin convulsing and screaming in anguish, but it's a guarantee there will be at least one at your next funeral.
Funerals are often always two-location affairs. In Haiti, many funeral goers don't have cars and have to find alternate ways of getting from the church to the graveside. The vehicle of choice... one's own two feet as a member of the human funeral procession. The dead is driven in a hearse, and the mourners follow behind, often accompanied by a brass band.
All ethnicities handle their deaths and funeral rites in different ways that are dictated as much by their collective religion as by the traditions of culture. For places were ethnicities are mixed, a funeral home must avail itself of all disciplines by way of funereal rituals. Depending on the family that walks in, nightlong wakes, burnt offerings, the ritualistic bathing of the dead, cremation, etc. are options. The scope can even include Medicine Men for Native Americans, a Mass for Hispanic Americans or professional mourners, as popular among Haitians.
If one has a Haitian funeral to attend and can't decide what is appropriate attire, know that black is always best. Dark, solid colors are more representative of the ideal mourning attire than bright, bold colors like red or yellow. If black isn't an option, dark brown or purple can also be worn without offense. Of late, white has made an interesting addition to the repertoire. Women can dress fully in white or in black and white. Other colors usually show up by way of little girls' bows or sashes made from ribbons worn by family members as specific religious statements.