Essay on Religious appraoches to death

Submitted By meimeichi
Words: 1474
Pages: 6

Dia de Los Muertos, Royal Ancestors in Buganda, and Aztec Sacrifice In many cultures, people feel that it is their duty as the living to take care of those they have lost. Throughout the world, religions set aside certain days and rituals in order to pay their respects to the dead. The people of Oaxaca are a prime example, dedicating their time each year to celebrate with those that they have lost, whom they call difuntos or pecadores. This Mexican tradition is broken into two different days “All Saints Day” and “All Souls Day”. Pope Boniface IV first introduced “All Saints Day” in the month of May, however in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III moved it over to November 1s. The festival was set as a day to commemorate all saints and martyrs in western civilizations. By the end of the 11th century, Pope Gregory VII established the festival in its current form. Saint Odilo Abad, decreed that on this day (Nov 2nd) “all Christian Cluniac monasteries must follow him in commemorating the “faithful dead” by means of requiem masses and prayers (274).” This practice was not fully accepted by the church until around the 13th century since it was viewed as pagan holiday that recognized ancestor worship and pre-Christian rites. When it was finally accepted by the church, the day set aside to commemorate “those who have died within the fold of the church (White 273).” All Souls' Day is a day of communion where the church offers prayers to those in heaven and those waiting in purgatory. The living recall, thanks, appease, and appeal to the departed so that they, in return might watch over the living. On one day of the celebration, angelitos, the spirit of babies or children, are commemorated. The subsequent day is known as “Dia de Los Grandes” and honors the souls of those who died in adulthood. Alters are constructed in order to honor the difuntos. On these alters, offerings of food, drinks, candles, flowers, incense, and even toys are offered to the deceased. The Day of the Dead is seen as a pleasant celebration because it is the one time of year where the living and the dead come together, offering the dead a temporary escape from purgatory. For the families that had many dead to commemorate, the cemeteries have a rotation schedule that allows the opportunity to pay a full and proper to their beloved instead of squeezing them all in into one day. Dia De Los Muertos is also similar to the Hindu Sraddha, Theravada merit transfer, and Chinese practice of Ching Ming, which have rites and rituals in order to honor their loved ones and offer them nourishment in the afterlife, hoping to receive good karma or protection. The Hindu religion does it as a way of tradition so that they know the dead will be put to rest and not come back to haunt them. Whereas the Oaxaca celebrate their dead and give thanks in hope that the might be watched over by the dead. The Aztecs were an extremely unique culture far different from the Oaxaca people. They performed human sacrifices in order to pay tribute to the Sun and Earth. They would do this on the prisoners of war they captured in two ways. One was by taking a flint and removing their heart or decapitating their heads, after this there body was thrown down the pyramid and feasted on by the Gods. After their heart was extracted it was lifted up to the sun god Tonatiuh and then offered as nourishment in order to keep it fueled. By sacrificing the heart it is believed to help prevent the world from being destroyed by water or burnt by the sun. This is why it was okay in Aztec religion to wage war on one another and capture victims and use them as some sort of sacrifice. The beheading of men was done in order to nourish the earth god Tlaltecuhtli. Tlaltecuhtli was who made plants flourish; therefore when he was not properly fed he was described to be groaning about needing the blood of men. The Aztecs believed in a yin and yang that the sun was seen as what drove the rainy and dry seasons. Aztecs also