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In the Classroom > Course Overview > Unit Overview > Lesson 12
Lesson 12
Death and community

Death rituals in the home and subsequent burial and mourning practices reveal much about community values and social classes. Although these rituals have varied over time because of changes in the belief system, these rituals were shared, varying only in terms of social position. The social elite used this time to once again demonstrate their wealth.
Women played a significant role in the community at the time of death.

Custom provided that the female neighbors gathered to be with the families during a time of grave illnesses and the passing of a family member. They prepared the body and then stayed up with the grieving family through the nights until the "viewing" and funeral were to occur. They sewed funeral clothes for members of the family and provided food for those who would come from afar. They would also organize the gathering that would occur in the home after the burial.


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