Baloma, the spirits of the dead

Baloma, the spirits of the dead

by Bronislaw Malinowski

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Overview

Among the natives of Kiriwina, death is the starting point of two series of events which run almost independently of each other. Death affects the deceased individual; his soul (baloma or balom) leaves the body and goes to another world, there to lead a shadowy existence. His passing is also a matter of concern to the bereft community. Its members wail for him, mourn for him, and celebrate an endless series of feasts. These festivities consist, as a rule, in the distribution of uncooked food; while less frequently they are actual feasts in which cooked food is eaten on the spot. They center around the dead man's body, and are closely connected with the duties of mourning, wailing and sorrowing for the dead individual. But--and this is the important point for the present description--these social activities and ceremonies have no connection with the spirit. They are not performed, either to send a message of love and regret to the baloma(spirit), or to deter him from returning; they do not influence his welfare, nor do they affect his relation to the survivors.
It is possible, therefore, to discuss the native beliefs in afterlife without touching the subject of mourning and mortuary ceremonies. The latter are extremely complex, and, in order to be properly described, a thorough knowledge of the native social system would be required.
In this article the beliefs concerning the spirits of the dead and afterlife will be described.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781542957175
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 02/06/2017
Pages: 186
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.40(d)

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