Friday, November 6, 2009


Death is a spectacle.  So says Leo Africanus this week.  I found the chapter on the death of his grandmother particularly interesting, as its religious and cultural traditions and practices regarding how to deal with the death of a loved one intersect in many ways with my own experiences when dealing with death.  For instance, in his Islamic tradition, all of the family and friends come to the house for the next several days to be with the family, and bring food as there is a religious prohibition on cooking in a house where someone has died.  In my own experience in different cultural circumstances, when a person dies, in Jewish religious and cultural customs, people will do the same thing, sitting shiva for the next week, and will bring food for the family, as they are dealing with the logistics and emotion of the passing, as well as the logistics of having guests.  Both societies also have ceremonies or gatherings after ceasing the initial services.  The sheik’s message on death, that it is a good thing that makes life worth living, as every bad part of the world is to make the good things valuable, also seemed to have many cross-cultural connections.  In a world so often divided along these lines, it is interesting to see how death is treated so similarly.  I guess my question is whether anyone else has similar facts or experiences within different cultures, so we can see if they all are this similar.

1 comment:

  1. Valid points, but please expand on them - this blog post is rather short (remember - you should be writing a page long commentaries).