Journey of the Dead

  Guardians of the Living and the Dead It makes no sense to bury or burn those that die in the sea. Instead, the Fiklow dead are sent on a year-long journey. The body is wrapped in two layers of woven material, soaked in herbs and chemicals. The outer layer is coarse, and the inner layer soft. A paste is spread on the outside cloth, to combine with the chemicals, and harden into a shell. A day later, the relatives and friends sing praises of the dead, as the shell is released into a swift current. The shell protects the body from the sea and small predators, for close to a year. The large predators are driven away by the shell’s smell. The queen is honored with a different type of death journey. Her ceremony is also performed a day after death, before there is any visible decay of the…

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