6 Bizarre Burial Rites In Nigeria

Nigeria is a country known for its rich cultural diversity, and its burial rituals are no exception. From the weird to the bizarre, here are six odd burial rituals in Nigeria that will surely pique your curiosity:

Dancing with the Dead:


In the Efik tribe of southeastern Nigeria, burial ceremonies are seen as a celebration of life rather than mourning. During the ceremony, the deceased’s body is dressed in colorful clothing and placed in a seated position, as if they were still alive. Family members then dance and sing around the body, celebrating the life of the deceased with lively music and energetic dance moves.

Tree Burials:


In some parts of Nigeria, particularly among the Ibibio and Efik tribes, the dead are buried in trees rather than in the ground. A hollowed-out tree trunk is used as a coffin, and the body is placed inside along with personal belongings and even food. The tree is then sealed with mud and clay, and the belief is that the spirit of the deceased will continue to reside in the tree, serving as a guardian spirit for the community.

Water Burials:


In the coastal communities of Nigeria, such as the Ijaw and Kalabari tribes, water is an integral part of life and death. When a person dies, their body is placed in a canoe or a specially crafted wooden coffin, and then set adrift in a river or the ocean. The belief is that the water will carry the deceased’s spirit to the afterlife and ensure a smooth transition.

Cowboy Funerals:


The Fulani tribe in the northern part of Nigeria gives the deceased a unique send-off. The body is dressed in traditional Fulani attire, which consists of colorful robes and a distinctive conical hat. The body is then placed on a horse and led in a ceremonial procession, reminiscent of a cowboy-style funeral. This ritual symbolizes the deceased’s love for horses and their journey to the spirit world.

Pot Burials:

Facebook|Tiv History

The Tiv and Idoma tribes in some parts of Nigeria bury deceased infants and young children in earthen pots. The body is curled up in a fetal position and placed inside the pot, which is then sealed with a lid. The pot is often adorned with intricate designs and buried in a shallow grave. This ritual is believed to safeguard the child’s spirit and ensure a safe passage to the afterlife.

Fire Burials:


The Ogoni tribe in southeastern Nigeria lays the deceased to rest by cremation through fire. They place the body on a pyre made of wood and ceremonially light a fire to cremate the body. The ashes are collected and stored in an urn, which the family keeps in their home as a cherished memento. The belief is that this practice purifies the soul and allows the deceased to join their ancestors in the spirit realm.

Nigeria’s burial rituals showcase the country’s diverse cultural traditions and beliefs about life, death, and the afterlife. These intriguing and sometimes unusual burial practices reflect the richness and diversity of Nigerian culture and highlight the unique ways in which different communities honour and remember their departed loved ones.

Also Read: 10 Unique Burial Traditions Across The World