Sagada Igorot - Religion and Expressive Culture

For Sagadans, the spirits of their deceased ancestors ( anitos ) make up the most important category of supernatural. Great emphasis is put on death ceremonies to ensure the future welfare of the soul in the "house of anitos." Full ceremonial rites, which include the initial placement of a corpse in a death chair and coffin burial in ancestral caves or stone-lined mausoleums underground, are performed for deceased married persons only. There is a lengthy mourning period, which is slowly terminated by a series of animal sacrifices. Sagadans bury infants and young children in clay jars beside the house, without prayer or special ceremony.

People consider the old to be the keepers of customs and performers of rituals essential to the continuance of Sagadan society. Consequently elders assume a greater status when they die, that of anito ancestors, in which they continue to look after the welfare of their descendants and to protest against neglect by sending illness and other disasters.

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