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Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidiz, by Isya Joseph, [1919], at

p. 192



If a young or well-known man dies, they make in his likeness a wooden form and clothe it in the dead man's clothes. Then the musicians play mourning tunes, while the relatives stand round the model. After wailing for a while, they walk in procession in a circle around the form, and now and then kneel down to receive a blessing from it. Those who come to the scene, according to their custom, ask the parents of the dead man, "What have you?" They reply, "We have the wedding of our son." They continue wailing for three days. Afterward they distribute food on behalf of the dead. For a year they give a plate of food with a loaf of bread daily to some person, thinking that thereby they are feeding their own dead. On the seventh and fortieth day from the time of death, they visit the grave to mourn over their lost one. Now, if the dead be a common man, he is not honored with such a ceremony. He is usually buried an hour or two after his death.

The funeral rites are simple. The body of the Yezidi, like that of a Mohammedan, is washed in running water. After being laid on a flat board, they dress him with his former clothes, close the openings in his body with pieces of cotton, place the sacred clay of Šeiḫ ‘Adî in his mouth, on his face and forehead, under his shoulders and eyes, and on his

p. 193

stomach. This done, they carry the dead on the board to the cemetery. The ḳawwals, burning incense, lead the procession; the immediate relatives, especially the women, following, dressed in white and throwing dust over their heads, and accompanied by male and female friends and neighbors. If the dead be a man, they then dance, the mother or the wife holding in one hand the sword or shield of the dead, and in the other, long locks cut from her own hair. They bury him with his face turned toward the north star. Everyone present throws a little dust over the grave while saying, "O man, thou wert dust and hast returned to dust to-day." Then the šeiḫ says, "When we say, 'Let us rise and go home,' then the dead man will say, 'I will not go home with the people.' And when he tries to get up, his head will strike the stone, when he will say, 'O, I am among the dead."' When they return home, the family slaughters oxen and sheep and gives meat to the poor. The poor kill four or five sheep; the rich, a hundred. The kochaks prophesy of the dead, whether he will return to the earth or will go to another world.

They hold that some will be eternally condemned, but that all will spend an expiatory period; and that the dead have communion with the living, in which the good souls dwelling in the heavens make revelations to their brethren on earth.

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