... Customs Related to Death ...

Photo 1. Photo 2. Photo 3.
Photo 4. Photo 5. Photo 6.
Photo 7. Photo 8. Photo 9.
Photo 10.

Photos by Riin Alatalu.
July 1989. Povodimovo.


Photo 1.
For during the spirit's leaving time, mirrors as well as other reflecting surfaces are covered up with a towel. Some believe this to ease the situation for the dier, while others consider reflection dangerous for the living.
Photo 2.
In Povodimovo it was said that for during the time of the spirit leaving, a glass of water was put into the holy corner so that the spirit could go into water after leaving its body; after death the table was covered with food and beverages. However, the basin of water seen in July, 1989 in the dead's chamber would be more suitable for washing; bread, biscuits and honey were food for the deceased.
Photo 3.
The deceased in coffin. The wire twisted around the finger is also twisted around the sickle lying on the stomach; the other end of the wire is in a vessel full of soil so there would be «ground connection». The deceased is surrounded by nettles, on the right beside the head is a glass jar with potassium permanganate solution. On the wall beside the window is a iconic scarf hanging, under which the deceased's spirit stayed for six weeks. July, 1989, in Povodimovo.
Photo 4.
In both villages it was argued that female relatives of the deceased wear a black scarf as a sign of mourning; however, on the funeral I attended in Povodimovo, all scarfs were white.
Photo 5.
Gifts were received by an older woman who placed them on a table.
Photo 6.
Truck box decorated with branches.
Photo 7.
Only those closest to the deceased go to the funeral to bury the body (kulõn kalmama); the rest start with the funeral feast. In Povodimovo, July 1989, the truck carrying the coffin and relatives led the procession, followed by women and gravediggers on foot.
Photo 8.
In Povodimovo, the funeral procession made a stop when passing houses of the deceased's relatives. In every stop, a small table with candies, apples, biscuits and other snacks as well as wine and vodka was set up beside the road for those participating the funeral.
Photo 9.
In Povodimovo, summer 1989, the opened coffin was received by two men standing in the bottom of the grave. The grave was wide and two meters deep.
Photo 10.
The fresh grave.