Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our Komo funeral experience

While we were visiting Komo, an elderly woman died. We didn't realize it when we arrived in the village one day, but found everyone gathered in groups and all wearing black of some sort. The 87-yr.-old woman had died on Saturday and was already buried by Monday. There is a tradition that says one should be remembered 100 nights after their death; this village had shortened it to 2 nights and we happened upon the rememberance ceremony that day. We were included in the ceremonies for the funeral/remembrance and found it very interesting.

Chief Lubu at funeral.  He sat with the men drinking kava but he didn't drink it.
 The men gathered under a tarp, sitting on mats drinking kava.

Man pounding kava root into powder so it can be mixed with water to form the brown liquid they were all drinking. 

The kava master and the kava bowl.  Kava is served in a half-coconut shell called a bilo and is all drunk in one go--no sipping.
 The women of the village were preparing food while the men drank kava.  They peeled breadfruit with a tin can that had a notch cut in it.  They chopped it up into the huge bowls.  They mashed garlic in a pestle and mortar and were cutting up freshly killed chickens and pigs to roast in the pit for the feast for all the 5 families of the village.
The village women tied all the sulu material together, end to end, by the corners to form a huge colorful banner that was then passed hand to hand all the way out the hut and around to the area where the men were sitting.  I was tasked to flake them all into a pile on top of all the mats and tapa cloths that had been piled earlier.  Unfortunately, I was part of the ceremony and Jason didn't feel proper taking photos during the somber occasion.

The kava master tasting his brew.

The piles of mats and tapa cloths after the ceremony.  Each of the 5 families in the vilage got a pile, as well as us.  The white tapa cloth in the lower right hand corner was given to us.  We tried to refuse politely, but they insisted and wanted us to remember Komo fondly.  We also got a pink flowered sulu each and a red flowered piece of sulu material.  Very generous, considering we didn't even know the lady.  I met the niece of the lady who submitted the white tapa we got and she said she was quite happy to know we got it.  And she got the blue flowered sulu I took off of Jason to donate to the banner.

Cutting up pigs and chickens to roast for the feast.
 These are the pink and red sulus we got at the funeral.

This is a relative of the deceased being wrapped in a large tapa cloth. He held it up with his elbows and stood somberly as we piled the rest of the mats and sulu material in front of him.

The sulu and tapa cloth from the ceremony.

The groups of villagers gathered for the remembrance ceremony as we left.


ctah said...

Wow..vinaka Komo for the generosity and the utmost hospitality

ctah said...

Wow..vinaka Komo for the generosity and the utmost hospitality