The culture of the Garifuna is a system of traditional and typical West African cultural expression fused with Amerindian customs and subsistence bases. This infrastructure of dance, drum and ancestor worship through ritual is no clearer defined than through the elaborate funeral rites associated with Garifuna culture. Our presentation was a visual synopsis of the Dugu. Here we will outline in detail the rites of death, the most important and sacred cultural expression of the Garifuna.
      Funeral Ceremonies of the Garifuna begin after the gathering of family and friends at nightfall.  Women, children and men participate in their respective roles throughout the night until early morning.  The men create a sacred space by making tent like roofs out of their canoe sails and afterwards, they play card games, tell traditional tales such as Ananse and enjoy song and dance.  Along with the traditional dances, like the Punta and circle dances, the younger children play many games.  Throughout, food is served to family and close friends as well as beverages made of rum and local roots.  Outside of the immediate area the older women gather around the coffin and begin their nightlong vigil of prayer.  Everyone stays till dawn because it is said that, "Anyone leaving before that time may excite the wrath of the dead and be exposed to his revenge"(Coelho pg. 174). In accordance with the Garifuna's incredible ability to adapt to the surroundings, they have incorporated Catholicism into the rite.  On the morning after the wake, the body is carried to a church where customary masses and rites are preformed. The body is then buried according to Catholic rite.
    The Garifuna observe a Nine-Night Wake in which the wake procedures are repeated for nine days following the death.  It begins on a day so that the ninth night falls on a Saturday.  This is considered the family's final farewell to the spiritual double or ahari of the dead who is believed to remain in the house after the burial.  It is only now that her/his trip to the other world begins.  Candles are lit, prayers are repeated and, especially regarding the Black Caribs, the wishes of the ahari are carefully attended.  The favorite things of the spirit and fresh water are placed allover the altar to further satisfy the wishes.About six months later a further process of helping the ahari to its ascendancy is preformed.  The immediate family does Amuiedahani or the bathing of the soul, usually the spouse and children, because the spirit has become weary and is in need of refreshment and strength to continue.  The males dig a pit in the deceased's bedroom and water for the bath is prepared from herbs and leaves into which small half-baked cassava bread is dissolved.  It is a short ceremony that begins with religious songs.  The eldest member fills a gourd with the water and throws it into the pit saying, "Here this is for your bath"(Coelho pg. 177).  Everyone then follows according to age.
    A full year after the death Dugu or Feasting the Dead is held in attempt to please the departed spirits who are believed to not be in peace.  It usually consists of a feast given to the deified ancestors by the extended family.  However, this is usually not preformed until the family members experience nightmares or domestic accidents or when the family's means of subsistence are threatened and all other remedies have failed.  A priest or buiai is then brought to communicate with the ancestral spirits with the help of his messengers (hiuruhu) to arrive at the appropriate ceremony.  Traditionally, the family gathers and the rites are held in the village where the lineage originated.  The heart of the Dugu is a small mound of earth (dabuyaba) built on the floor of the house set apart for the ritual.  It is suppose to attract and hold the spirits, who are mystically bound to the earth the once tread upon.  The ritual is a whole week of activities, dancing, chanting and food sharing.  The most sacred part of the Dugu is the mali or amalihani a dance led by the buiai and the drummers.  During the mali, the placating of the spirits of the ancestors takes place.  The congrgation forms behind the buiai who faces the drummers as they all move in a counter clock-wise direction around the dabuyaba halting position to mark the four cardinal points.  These motions signify the directions from which power is drawn and in which the spirits may reside.  Each mali is dedicated to an ancestral spirit.  Normally some dancers enter into trance signifying that the ancestors have arrived at the ceremony.  The ritual progresses throughout the mornings, when they go to the sea to collect shellfish and the favorite dishes of the ancestors.  Upon return, they dress and attend a requiem mass.  The candles from the mass are taken back to continue the rites.  There follows three more rites: Arairaguni- calling down the spirit; Guibida- attempts to please the spirits; Abaiuhani- allows the children to get aquatinted with the spirits.  The final rite is the serving of the hot specialty dishes relished by the ancestors.  They are presented to the spirits and songs are sung.  After it is thought the spirits have begun to consume, everyone else partakes.
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