Soul Concept in Nigerian Funerals – Term Paper

Nigerian culture believes in the immortal and spiritual nature of the human soul. With regards to the belief, different Nigerian cultures perform a variety of customs relating to their cultures so as to appease the dead during the burial and funeral practices (Muranyi & Kryon, 2015). This paper will highlight some of the practices during the Nigerian funerals that conform to the spiritual and immortal nature of the soul.

The Nigerian people believe that when a person dies, their soul keeps on hovering in the air and watching over the living. Therefore they regard burial as an important tradition where the dead has to be buried in a special manner to avoid their punishment over the living. Before an old person dies, he/she makes instructions that have to be thoroughly observed during the burial. Failure to adhere to the conditions is believed to bring misfortunes to the particular community. For instance, in some cultures, the children of the old person are required to stay close to a sick old man so that they hear their instructions. Besides, other traditions believe that the dead has to stay for more than a week so that they interact with the living for the last time. During the moment, the people hold a ceremony where they eat, drink and dance believing that the dead is also participating.

Furthermore, the rich people in Nigeria budget for their funerals before they die. The budget is given to the children so that the children have to offer the dead a decent burial. Nigerians believe that when a dead person is buried in a proper manner, they are well received in the world of the dead. Those that are accorded indecent burials are believed to suffer in the next world. Additionally, giving a dead person a moderate ceremony is regarded as an indication of poverty.

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Moreover, other customs prepare the soul of the dead for the next world by equipping them with materials to use while in the next world. The dead are buried with money, gold, among other jewelry so that they continue enjoying their stay in the world of the dead (Green, 2015). For those who died under unclear circumstances, the dead are buried with weapons so that they can defend themselves against the enemies. Customs are performed to invoke the souls of the dead to revenge for their untimely deaths.

 Finally, other Nigerian cultures insist that the body is lowered into the grave cautiously to avoid harming the dead because they will feel pain. While performing the burial, prayers are offered to prepare an easy passage of the dead person into the other world. The prayers are meant to prevent the soul of the dead person to roam around the house of the living. The idea behind all the practices that are performed during the funerals is the concept of the human soul which is immortal.


Green, M. C. (2015). A Nigerian Funeral, Five Goats, Pascals Wager, and the Seventh Circuit Court Gets Religion. Cakewalks and Climbing Walls.

Muranyi, M., & Kryon. (2015). The human soul revealed: Unlocking the mysteries from beyond. Outremont, Quebec: Ariane Books.