By Cletus Opukeme
Burial rite is the final respect given to the death. It is either called funeral or obituary or wake-keeping. The Ijaw culture of night burial has been practiced from generation to generation from time immemorial. It is a good culture where the night burial rite is performed in earlier Ijaw culture with local wooden instrument to provide music/merriment.
The local wooden instruments which provide the burial Ijaw music produces a awful sounds to little kids which goes along with shooting of dane guns or cannon guns. This depends on the sex of the dead. In ancient Ijaw culture, diseased male receives three gun shots intermittently while female diseased receives four gun shots.
But as time goes on in the 70s/80s, the tradition or the culture of shooting gunshots or providing music with local wooden instruments gave way for foreign musical instruments with the gramophone/Turntable or otherwise big battery tapes to replace the Ijaw wooden musical instruments to embrace modern technology .
At at point, Ijaw night burials graduated and modernized during the late 80s where musicians were invited to entertain live band at burial ceremony. This aspect of hiring live band musician is quite expensive and could not be afforded by everybody. It was reserved exclusively for well-to-do families in Ijaw night burials. It is fun and quite entertaining.
In the late 90s,2000 till date ( 21st century), the practice is no longer fashionable as burial rite has been turned into a display of opulence and wastefulness as well to do children spend millions of naira to hire different live band playing musicians to entertain in their diseased parents night burials.
The era added another obscene culture which is alien to the Ijaw known culture as aged parents who die naturally through ailments, the corpses were transported to cities for mortuary preservation for months or years to raise money to carry out not a befitting burial for the diseases. But to carry out a competitive and display of a fake opulence at night burial ceremony to get the applause of relatives and friends which in most cases, the parents died in hunger or over minor ailments.
Why this night burial culture must be changed for day, first, the cost of burial in Ijaw is becoming sky-rocking due to the vain glory attached to the ceremony. Many who have aged parents begin to have serious heartbeat on how to bury their aged parents.
Night burial is becoming an old fashion around the world. Night burials with the high-life musics create a great promiscuity among both married women and unmarried young ladies in Ijaw land. If it eradicated, it will reduce so menace.
Night burials gives bag youths in most burial rites to commit crimes of stealing, cult gang fighting which in most cases end in death either gin shot or broken bottle/knife stab injury.
Night burial has caused so many endless river accidents as speed boats ferry relatives, friends and well-wishers to the community carrying out night burials. If it is eradicated, it will reduce such unnecesaary accidental deaths.
The opulence one wishes to display at night burial can also be displayed in day burial to receive the same applause from relatives and friends. Many who got drunk during night burial while returning to their homes died in road accidents in the following morning. The innocent diseased or family unlucky relatives are being held responsible in such avoidable accidental death.
Any child who does not take good care on his parents while they are alive. But plans to prepare exorbitant night/day burial by depositing the corpse in morgue for months or years to build a block house for the burial of their death parents are wicked and such children should change their mindsets.
A befitting burial rite is when your parents enjoy your wealth while they are alive untill they die and you invite friends, relatives and well-wishers to give them even a low key burial rites, sometimes without live band musicians for final respect.
Do not plan to kill yourselves for the death of your aged parents. Any kobo spend in opulent burial rite is waste as the death do not see or know your wasteful display. Take care of your parents while they are alive, if you so much love them.