First Place - 2018 Feature Picture Story/Essay (Excerpt)
In the popular belief, death is the last season, the winter of life, returning to the earth from which new slips will sprout in spring.When a family member died, the bells would toll thrice a day (until burial day).The family members would wear black traditional attire; women would have their hair loose or wear black head kerchiefs. Men wouldnt wear hats and would have their facial hair unshaven.After the bath of the deceased, he would be clothed in the clothes prepared before his passing and he would be put in a coffin so that the people would say goodbye. In the coffin there had to be some tree bark, white linen and a pillow. The eyes of the deceased would be closed, not to see the bereavement surrounding him, and the mirrors would be covered or turned towards the wall.As a rite, mourning would be done by family members, or in some cases, by female mourners outside family. They would sit inside or outside the house, near the windows, and behind the carriage used to carry the deceased to the burial site.The burial would be held the third day a moment of grief and mourning for the family and the entire community. According to the rules of conduct imposed by the rural social life, not only family members were involved in the burial organisation, but also the community members.On the day of the burial, the sieve was prepared according to the area. They would put in a bucket a plum branch embellished with shapes made of bread dough, walnuts, apples, and candies.Leading the convoy were men waving flags embellished with cloth and braided bread. They were followed by those who carried the tree for burial, and later followed by the ox-driven carriage and the bereaved family, relatives, and villagers. After the ceremony, boiled wheat and sugar would be given to the attendants.At the house of the deceased, there would be a proper ceremony, represented by a moment of solidarity for the family who lost a member.