Friday, October 3, 2008


A tsaboraha is a ceremony in which the family has a big party, the whole party goes to their ancestor’s tomb and re-wraps the body in a clean shroud. The body is not completely exposed, they only replace the top layer. On the plateau, it is very formal. I did not go to one of these, but we were told about the correct way to carry the body 7 times around the tomb, the speeches and the formal re-wrapping and replacing of the body. The ceremony is usually done 2-3 years after the person dies.
Like all things on the coast, their version is lazy and more relaxed. The party starts at on Friday evening and goes through the night. Some stay, some go, and some only join the next day. On Saturday morning everyone goes to the tomb. They continue, or start celebrating. There are speeches, a cow is sacrificed near the tomb and a clean lamba (shroud) is placed outside the tomb. They do not actually exhume the body on this part of the coast.
I went to one with the health volunteer, Patrick, who is nearly done with his 3rd year here. He had gone to them in the past and I thought it would be a good opportunity to see one with someone who can explain things to me. The one we went to, he tells me, was even lazier than others. The tomb was close to the city, so people were coming and going, there were no fights (which usually occur when people drink for 2 days straight) and it was just less ceremonial. Kind of a let down really, I was expecting more. At least now I am prepared for another one if I ever get the chance. Maybe the next one will be more exciting.
The section of the east coast that I live in is predominantly Catholic and the church condemned ceremonies like the tsaboraha long ago. There are many here, my landlord included, who refuse to go to them. He was shocked that I wanted to go, even though he knows I am not Catholic and asked me what I thought when I came back. I told him it was a little boring, but since we don’t have them in the states it was a fun experience. He was satisfied by my answer and does not consider me a heathen just for going.

1 comment:

mom said...

I am sure it was an experience. Would you go again??