Rites and Rituals for the Dead: Bases for Good Moral Behaviour in Ezzaland, Nigeria
This study investigated rites and rituals for the dead: bases for a good moral behaviour, using Ezzaland (as its scope).Rites and ritual for the dead are important rites of passage in African traditional beliefs. It is the last ritual one must pass through to enable such person complete the transitional ritual stages. But in Ezzaland, death rituals have a latent function of promoting good moral behaviour. This is because the rites are limited to people that lived good life. This ritual was more effective during the pre-colonial era with evidence of high moral value to show. Presently, this ritual has declined as a result of it being objected by Christianity, Western culture and civilization. The rate our rich cultural heritage is shrinking with the resultant impact to our traditional religion is what triggered this research work. Also, Lack of appropriate observance of rites and ritual for the dead has disturbed the relative peace and stable order of the Ezza society. Traditional sanctions and taboos are no longer treasured and a new
way of life begins which leads to a new way of morality. The purpose of this research work was to make an apology for our cultural heritage by analytically and descriptively unveil how these rituals contribute to good moral behaviour and its implication to Nigeria. Also, how moral decadence in Ezzaland will also be revisited in a more traditional approach. This work employed the analytical descriptive methodology. In order to ascertain reliable data, various methods of data collection were employed. These include oral interview and personal observation. Literatures are reviewed. Journal articles and internet are consulted. This work finally reveals the following: The practice of rites and rituals for the dead is culturally normative in Ezzaland and is a social reality. It also reveals the existence of burial rites and rituals for different categories of people in Ezza cultural setting. It discovers how rites and rituals for the dead have contributed to good moral behaviour in Ezzaland. In addition, this work reveals the effects of
rites and rituals for the dead of a good person from three aspects. The first is from the aspect of the deceased, the other is from the angle of the relatives and thirdly the perspective of Nigerian society.