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Death

Birth and death are the part and parcel of the world.  But to help the soul sleep peacefully in the heaven Bunts believe in some customs and traditions.

When a family member dies, the other members spread this news to their friends and relatives.

The body is shifted to the chavadi of the house. A fistful of rice is placed near the head and near the feet of the body. A coconut broken into equal halves is placed on the rice and paddy heap. A deepa is lit on these coconut halves filled with coconut oil. Incense sticks are placed near the head and feet of the body. The cremation should happen within a day of the death. It is customary for everyone to bring a punotha kuntu (white piece of cloth) to put on the body.

Then few members prepare the katta. Simultaneously it is applied on the body of the deceased and than washed with warm water. Later the garlent made of tulasi leaves is put on the body.

Lastly the close relatives put flowers, white cloth on the body and also put neer in the mouth of the deceased. The puna is then carried to the katta by the men with the saying ‘Govinda Govida’.

The eldest son puts the fire to the kaata near the feet of the body. The men wait till most of the body is burnt, specifically; the chest part is burnt before leaving. People come back and have bath before entering the house. The house is cleaned. Rice and chutney are prepared for the assembled people. The assembled elders decide on the next rituals.

After funeral

On the fifth day after the cremation, the family members go to collect the ashs and let over bones and then tie them to a tree in a white cloth. The madiwala performs this ritual. Following this the bojja is performed on the eleventh or the thirteenth day after the cremation.

The neighbors and relatives send various items such as rice, coconut, ash pumpkin, banana, vegetables etc for the bojja. This is called pude korpune. This is meant to help the family out at the time of their crisis. Neighbors and relatives come and help to prepare for the bojja.

On the sixteenth day after death, the ritual of padinaji koodisavune (aligning the kule or spirit of the deceased with other spirits of the family) is performed by women. Sixteen banana leaves are placed along the wall in a room and the seventeenth leaf is placed away from the first sixteen. Non-vegetarian food is served on these leaves. A bowl, made of banana leaf, filled with toddy is placed with the food. Dhoopa (smoke) is held over the food. She then joins the new spirit with other spirits by joining the seventeenth leaf with the others.

The spirit now rests in peace.

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