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Unique and Unsettling: The Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Philippines

January 16, 2020 - General
The Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Philippines

The Igorots are an indigenous tribe living in Sagada, Luzon Island, Philippines. The Igorots practice unique funerary customs, in which the dead are buried in coffins which are tied or nailed to the side of cliffs. It is claimed that this practice is over 2000 years old, although nobody seems to know whether there are any coffins that are actually that old.

A Rare Funerary Practice

The coffins are said to be carved by the elderly before they die. If an elderly person is too weak or ill to do so, his/her son, or a relative would do it for him/her. When the person dies, he/she is placed in the coffin in a fetal position. This is due to the belief that a person should exit the world in the same position that he/she entered it.

After being wrapped up in blankets and tied with rattan leaves, the corpse is carried to a cliff in a procession. During this procession, mourners attempt to grab and carry the corpse. This is due to the belief that it is good luck to be smeared with the blood of the deceased, since it would allow a person to possess the skills of the deceased. After reaching the site for the burial, the corpse would be placed in the coffin and tied or nailed to the side of the cliff.

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Source: origins

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