The Second funeral celebration: Juka or ngomsika


Juka = burning (e.g. quiver); ngomsika = scratching; only in the juka funeral a deceased becomes a real ancestor



Cheesika (collecting) or Bogsika (loanword)


A group of the funeral house collects food for the funeral, e.g. in the section of the deceased's mother. The "imitator" (see kumsa) and a man who carries the bow, quiver and arrows of the deceased accompany the group. They may collect millet, germinated guinea corn or fowls. Only women give the presents, a man can give something by way of his wife.


1st day: Kpaama ngabika


Women start brewing the pito that is drunk on the last day of the juka-funeral; not many people are present.



2nd day: Nyaata soka dai: the widows' bath


1. In the afternoon guests are greeted and speeches are held.


2. The widows' hair is cut completely.


3. In the evening they boil water near the tampoi. A liik is filled with cold water.


4. A big layer of sheabutter is applied to the widows' bodies by the jom-suiroa woman (protection against the hot water?). If a widow's skin is burnt by the hot water, this means that she had not always been faithful to her deceased husband.


5. Hot water is poured over the widows in the order of their age. All women onlookers ululate (weeling).


6. The widows are lead to their living quarters.


7. Biisa lika (closing the female breasts)

If an old married woman died, her daughters in a childbearing age bring a samoaning-vessel to the funeral house. Otherwise the daughters could not breastfeed their babies or their breasts would be covered with boils.


8. Many participants of the funeral put on a poali-leather wristlet with including medicine.


(9. According to some informants the widows' choice of a new husband may take place already on the second day; cf. 3,24)



3rd day: Siira manika dai (day of preparing T.Z.)


or Lok tuilika dai or Lokta juka dai (day of burning the quiver) or Puuta-dai (day of the puuk-vessels, if there is a funeral of a married women included)


1. In the night the quiver(s) with arrows and the bow(s) of the male deceased person(s) are taken from a room (e.g. the mother's room) into the dabiak (courtyard). They kill one or more fowls and one or more sheep over it. The heads of the killed animals are removed.


2. The killed sheep is (are) thrown over the outer wall (parik).


3. Two gravediggers take the quiver to a flat-roofed room in the cattle yard.


4. The gravediggers cut up the sheep. The meat belongs to them, but everybody is allowed to eat from it.


5. Very early in the morning the widows and other women of the house start preparing saab (T.Z.). Also women from neighbouring compounds prepare T.Z. and bring it to the funeral house. (photo 18)

Altogether there may be more than 20 bowls (e.g. chengsa, kpalabsa) with T.Z. and as many calabash bowls with meat of fowls or fish, bumbota, round beans etc.. Millet cakes (maasa) may be placed on the T.Z. Also yams should be among the dishes, but it may only be prepared by close relatives of the deceased. All the dishes are taken to the courtyard of the deceased's mother or to the cattleyard (photo 2).


6. Kpagluk: Fowls that were given as presents for a deceased man are killed at the entrance (nansiung) of the compound, those of a dead woman behind the compound. Their feathers are "glued" to the wall with blood. The fowls are roasted immediately.


7. (in the morning) A leather-bag (bunlok), which had been filled with millet grains and liquid shea-oil, is opened. If the oil has coagulated, it is a bad omen. It may mean that something has been made wrong during the funeral or that somebody will die soon.


8. Distribution of the prepared food (see 5.): It is for visitors of other sections and orphans of one's own section. The names of the sections are announced and the representative of the section can choose one of the dishes. A black calabash is destined for sacrifices to the bow and quiver. If one of the guests takes the meat or fish from other dishes (in addition to his own) he cannot be stopped or punished.


9. The quiver and bow are taken from the flat roof into a room where consultations of the grave-diggers take place. The room must not be entered by persons whose father or mother is still alive. In the bundle of the quiver and bow there are also some branches of the dambuuring-tree. They are used later for burning the quiver and bow.


10. Musicians play on the flat roof near the entrance: e.g. 3 ginggaung drummers, 1 namuning (horn-trumpet), 1 sinleng (double bell), 1 wiik/yuik (flute).


11. Two men carry the quivers and bows like a death-mat to the pielim in front of the compound or to the central bui. Women are weeping, for this is the final farewell to the dead person(s). They follow the quiver (photo 4).


12. Lokta juka: With an axe the two gravediggers cut the quivers (and bows) into small pieces and burn them. This may be done near the main bui or near the tampoi (photo 5). After the quivers have been burnt the deceased person(s) are believed to start walking to the land of the dead (for the Atuga-bisa this is situated near Chana).


13. Young men dance a war-dance without the costums and weapons of warriors. They only have simple sticks. Also girls may form war-dance groups.


14. One young man takes a forked log (zangi) and runs with it around the compound. Then, crying loudly, all young people start to storm the tampoi in several approaches.


15. Loose stalks (from a mat) which had been placed near the deceased's grave are burnt in the dalong (photo).


16. For the funerals of men or women their daughters-in-law bring sleeping-mats. They are placed in front of the compound. Later they are given to the daughters of the dead person and/or to women who were active at the funeral (2 photos 10).


17. If the funeral was combined with that of a married woman, some women take some of the deceased woman's ceramic vessels and calabashes to a footpath that leads to the deceased woman's parental compound. Before the vessels had been placed at the rear compound wall (Sandema). The types of ceramic vessels seem to be different from place to place: they may be bimibilisa, kpaam-kaboota or others. The women break them by throwing them on the ground and stepping on them with their feet (Foto7).


18. According to some information from Gbedema, the performing women of the section of the funeral house dance on the potsherds.


19. A woman grinds a soft light-coloured stone to a white powder (function and meaning?)


20. The grave of the deceased person is plastered and sometimes painted with red daluk-clay.


21. In the afternoon entertainment, music and dances prevail.


22. The imitator may go on playing sketches of the deceased's life (Foto)


23. (Only observed in the Wiaganaab's compound) A group of mourners, which includes the imitator and some widows, accompanied by a music band, visits the market. There children can plunder market stalls without being punished. More women (e.g. neighbours) bring T.Z. , fowls and other present to the chief's compound.


24. Remarriage of the widows. All the widows gather, e.g. in the quarter of the deceased's mother. One after the other, they are asked whom they want to marry. Those who do not want to marry again may say: "I will marry my husband's grave" or "I will marry NN" (a small child). After this the widows can wear cloth clothes again.



4th day: Sinlengsa dai (double-bell day) or Daata nyuka dai (day of drinking pito)


On the last day many people from outside appear. Music bands play and people dance. But there are not many rituals.


1. The pito brewed on the first day is now ready for drinking. It is served to the guests.


2. (observed at the Wiaganaab' compound): Daughters of the deceased chief move to the market to show that the funerals has been concluded successfully.


3. (information Wiaga) On the last day kamsa-cakes are smeared on the outer wall of the compound.


4. Sinlengsa-dance: Only performed for deceased female persons. The male dancer puts a sherd from a calabash bowl that had been destroyed on the 3rd day (no. 17) and dances, accompanied by a double bell (sinlengsa) and other instruments. The dance should express the joy that the deceased has gone to the land of the dead.


5. Miisa folika: The widows' strings are removed by a woman called jom-suiroa (su: to put on, cf. 2,4), who had been appointed immediately after a man's death. She had to do many tasks: putting on the string on the widows and conducting the widows' bath. After this ritual the widows are allowed to live with the chosen man as husband and wife.


Koalin teka (to pack and give)


This may take place on one of the days following the funeral.

The (movable) legacy of the deceased is collected and distributed among the heirs.