Ngaju Religion pp 142-154 | Cite as

The Sacred Dead

Part of the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde book series (KITLV)


The total community comprises not only the living but also the dead, i.e. members of the community who have left this world for ever and now dwell in the community of the ancestors in the village of the dead (lewu liau). Both worlds belong together, and the dead take part in all important events, which have to be ceremonially announced to them.68 The village of the dead differs from those on the “river of the world” only in that it is bigger, richer, and more splendid. The houses are magnificently built, the thoroughfares are set with gold and jewels, the trees bear perpetual fruit. Neither is life there very different from that on earth, except that it is less toilsome, offers more pleasures, and lasts for ever, since the dead have returned to their origin, to their eternal and true home from which they had descended to earth only to dwell there for a while as guests. The world of the dead exhibits the same social structure as that of the living. The same distinctions are made between superior and inferior, free and slave, the good and the bad.


Total Community Deep Place Religious System Dead Person Sacred Place 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1963

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