Death, Mortuary Rites and witchcraft in Etsako culture

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Last update 03-06-2020) 

These differ in detail from tribe but in general are of the same pattern as those of other branches of the Edo –speaking peoples. It is interesting to note that in some tribes different animals are killed ‘‘ for” different parts of the deceased’s body a custom which is reminiscent of the Ibo morning is commonly signified by shaving the head in some cases different patterns being used according to the kinship relation between the mourner and the deceased.

Witchcraft beliefs appear to follow the same general pattern as those of the Benin people and sasswood was, in the past, commonly resorted to in order to’ establish witchcraft guilt. During the early 1940s a witch-finding movement, onene, reached considerable proportions, especially in the Uwepa-Uwano area. The witches, who were mainly children, were removed to the house of the onene priest and kept there until their families ransomed them with a he-goat, a cock and payment of a sum of money. Should the child die in custody the parents were charged 10s, before being allowed to take away the body. Witchcraft guilt was established by diviners and the witches, who were held to be able to change themselves into animals or birds,’° were accused of causing deaths, spoiling crops, etc. Eventually the movement vas officially suppressed. Other similar movements have arisen from time to time in the Edo-speaking country.

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