Tuesday, March 30, 2010


We live about a block from a huge walled mortuary, larger than a normal city block, with daily funerals and processions, but yesterday we saw something that I doubt we will ever see again. We don't know who died but it must have been an important politician or a high-ranking military General. The parade came down the main street right next to our mission office and with all of the beating of drums and the loud music, we were interested in seeing what was going on. The parade started with six or eight huge trucks loaded with people and drums. They were followed by about forty identical brand new and very expensive black cars which were all decorated with identical strips of white decorations on the hood and beautiful white flowers on four-wheelers in front and behind. They were followed by a long line of high school girls in matching short red mini-skirts playing "Nearer My God To Thee," on musical instruments
The drum corp was next with some huge drums on wheels and men beating in cadence on smaller drums as well. They were followed by a large group of men all dressed alike in yellow hats. Behind them was a military drill team going through a rifle spinning routine with a military band behind playing , with "gusto, the hymn "Nearer My God To Thee."
Following the military band was a group of female Budhist monks with shaved heads leading the huge stretch funeral hearse. On the front of the fresh white flower decorated hearse was a picture of the deceased man.

Directly in front of the hearse was a group of women dressed in black and carrying baskets of white rose petals which they scattered on the pavement. We were somewhat surprised to see, what appeared to be, by his clothing, a Protestant or Catholic clergyman walking along in the procession. Behind the hearse was the family, of about a dozen women and men all dressed in black with what appeared to be the man's wife being assisted on either side by women holding her up and at times appeared to be carrying her as she mourned. Behind the family, bringing up the end of the parade, were about two or three hundred people, mostly men, all dressed in black, and they all seemed to be out for a stroll down the street displaying little if any emotion. The parade lasted about thirty minutes and really stopped or slowed down anyone trying to navigate with or around the parade.

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