Archaic mourning rites around the globe.How to explain these strange forms of collective behavior?

Main Article Content

Oesterdiekhoff G.W.

Abstract

Mourning rites in archaic societies are characterized by a plethora of common features, such as extreme wailing, horrific self-mutilation of mourners, mock fights between relatives and neighbors, sacrifice of blood and hair at the graveyard, and very long mourning periods. Altogether, archaic people react in a very extreme way to the death of people. The explanations given for this phenomenon are: Pain for the loss, fear of revenge of the spirit of the dead and offering of blood sacrifices to enable the dead person to live on in the afterlife. However, these mentioned factors can be understood only if they are seen as manifestations of a primeval mental stage of development. It follows that the decline of archaic mourning rites in the course of historical development must be conceived as upshot of psychological advancement. Advanced mental stages both reject blood sacrifice and deny the existence of magic and spirits.


 


 


 Self-mutilation; fear of the dead; ghost; blood sacrifice; mourning rites; mental development.

Article Details

How to Cite
Oesterdiekhoff , G. (2024). Archaic mourning rites around the globe.How to explain these strange forms of collective behavior?. Human Evolution , 39(1-2), 23-41. https://doi.org/10.14673/HE2024121128
Section
Articles