Customs and rite at death and burial

The customs and rites of death and burial are related to major moments in a person’s life. Through the customs of death and burial, people carry out other no less important relationships. During the customs, they establish contact with the world of the dead. Central to the death stakes are dreams. Christians and Muslims in Bulgaria believe that dreaming of a toothache or tooth extraction does not bode well. If the tooth is front, a very close person is threatened, and if it is back, a more distant relative is threatened. The most popular belief is that if a hen crows like a rooster, there will soon be death in the house.

Customs and rites at the occurrence of death

The transition between life and death is indicated by the expression bere soul. Caring for the deceased begins even when he is in agony, i.e. even before death occurs. It is a universal belief that the good man dies easily and quickly, and the wicked has a prolonged agony. The care provided by the relatives of the dying person is not aimed to restore life, but to end suffering. Sometimes the transition from life to death cannot take place, i.e. the suffering continues without being able to be removed. Sinners are primarily exposed to such a danger. In such cases, the relatives of the dying person observe certain prohibitions and perform various ritual actions. The most widespread is the prohibition to cry and make noise in front of the dying. People believe that he hears the cries and this prevents him from dying, i.e. he continues to suffer. The mouth and face are usually wet with water to relieve pain.

It is believed that Azrael comes to lure the soul of the dying. After a certain period of time (usually 40 days) the soul of the deceased leaves the world of the living and goes to the other world. Death is announced by singing the “hodja”, called “sele”. The deceased must have his eyes closed. This is done by some relative.

Immediately after death, preparations for bathing begin. The number of bathers is not precisely established. However, their gender must match that of the deceased – among Muslims, deceased men are bathed by the hodja. Muslims never bathe the deceased at home. Nowadays, this action is performed in the mosque in a special room. An established order is observed when bathing the dead – first they wash the face, hands and feet, and then the body. This sequence of bathing is called “aptes”. Muslims do not dress the deceased in clothes, the corpse is wrapped in a white cloth. The white cloth used for burial is called “keffin”. The wrapped dead man is bandaged in 3 places/head, waist and legs/ or in 2 places/head and legs/. He usually swaddles the one who has bathed. The dead person is placed on a special stretcher – “tabut”, which is kept in the mosque. Finally, they cover the tabut and the dead with a green cloth.