Friday, March 16, 2012

Liberians Pay Homage to the Dead

Cemeteries around Liberia Last Wednesday received an influx of families, friends and love ones who when out to paint the tombs and clean the graveyards of their falling ones. As a tradition to most Liberians, every second Wednesday in March, marks the day which the burial place and graves of love ones should be tidy as a sign of respect for the dead. Our reporter visited several cementries including the Muslim burial place situated in the old road community to get a feel of how people in the country observed Decoration Day. Some of the cementries, besides the Muslim burial place, toured by our reporter were the J.C.N. Howard Cemetery, Congo Town Cemetery and the Palm Groove Cemetery on Center Street which had dramatic scenes of people weeping, mourning, drinking, cleaning around the graves, and meeting old friends. From early morning on March 14, to the afternoon hours, the old rugged weedy graveyards became brillantly sparkling with colors of all sort and all the grassed were cut and either burnt or thrown away. But such moods was unique to ‘Christain’s graveyards’ as the ‘Muslim’s burial place’ was perhaps, not visited, by the relatives of those falling Liberians who were buried there. Some may agree that there is nothing at the Muslim Cemetery to be decorated because the graves of several thousands Liberian Muslims who were have been buried there cannot be recognized by tombstones. Speaking to one a professed Muslim on how they when about observing Decoration Day, Asatu Kromah, 46, said since she was a child she remembered her parents having feast for the dead rather than ‘waisting resources’ on the graves of people that would benefit nobody any more. She said “monies used to build comfortable tombs, buy luxurous caskets, get expensive suits and decorate graves for the dead” as a Muslim tradition were diverted to helping an impoverished family member who is alive while the dead is wraped in special clothe and buried in the dirt. But many professed Christains who spoke to our reporter viewed Decoration Day as the day when they should paid homage to the people who they loved. “I am a little taking aback to hear that is how the Muslims regard their falling ones. Check the Bible it is there, ‘do onto others as it shall be done onto you.’ In everyday life if you want to other people to respect you must respect them, and it can also be applied to the dead,” Mr. Morris Milton said. The past Decoration Day was sad thoug people tried to make it seem like a festive day. It became more saddened to people who where at the J.C.N. Howard who discovered the remains of an individual loitering between some graves. Accordign to some of the people who lived around the area, people often dumped the body of their dead relatives in the cemetery durng the night for reasons best known to them. Some said the remains that was discovered could have belong to a family who could not afford funeral cost to give the person whose remain was found a befitting burial.

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