AS-“It is a weird burial ritual. Well, weird for other villages near my town, because no one except our village does this.”
Interviewer-“Has your always been doing it or did something happen in the village for everyone to shift from the ‘traditional’ burial rituals?”
AS- “I don’t know. It has always been like that. Maybe it was because my village mostly houses farmers and their land, and the rituals just symbolize their connection to their land. Anyways, coming back to the ritual. It is not something extremely groundbreaking but, in our village, instead of cremating out dead near a river and throwing their ashes into the water, our dead are cremated on familial ground and buried right there.”
AS is a middle-aged woman born in a small village in eastern parts of India. She spent most of her childhood in the village that she talks about, but moved out to attend school in a different city. Her father was buried following the same burial ritual that she describes in the above text.
In the above burial ritual, we see the impact of local sentiments into a more widespread cultural practice. By shifting from the widespread tradition of cremating beside a river, the village tradition of burying the dead on familial grounds integrates a smaller community’s culture with that of a bigger one. It is an example where we can see social norms and meanings (here, a farmer’s connection to their land) integrating with religious customs.