Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I've finally got around to adding a couple of photos to the post I wrote about the village funeral I went to a few weeks ago. I was reminded because yesterday I went to not one, but two Buddhist funerals.

These were slightly different to the last one, as both of them were cremations. The previous ceremony I attended was about helping the spirit move on to the next phase of its existence, while both of these were about fare welling the more physical elements. In the more northern parts of Nepal and in Tibet sky burial is a common way to return the body to the world - leaving the body exposed to birds of prey and other animals. However it's not so practical in Kathmandu or the hills where I work and cremation is preferred.

Like the village funeral both of these events involved a lot of butter candles, a lot of feeding people and whole lot of incense. What was interesting at both of these events is that there seemed to be a lot more gender segregation - with women doing the majority of the cooking, praying and crying.

It is perhaps something of a shame that I didn't get to stay to see either cremation take place - but after visiting Pashupatinath I think I've inhaled enough ashes of dead people for one trip to Nepal.

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