The Great Burial Tradition / Ritual in Sutersa | World Anvil
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The Great Burial

In the far north of Regerwa winters seem to last forever. The snow and ice lay thick and the ground is frozen solid. One of the problems this brings with it is the burial of the dead, it isn't easy to dig deep enough in these conditions. As most people adhere to religions that prohibit burning of bodies here that is also not an option.   The solution to this problem is what is now known as The Great Burial. In the beginning of summer (since there is practically no spring), there is a great festival where all those who have died during the winter are celebrated and buried.


When people started to settle in the north they had to adapt to the freezing climate. In the northern-most parts of the world the seasons shift fast and drastically. Winter covers the lands in white for the better part of the year, spring is practically non-existent and summer short.   As their traditions call for ground burial of their dead a lot of different ways have been created through time to deal with this. Great Burial ceremonies and similar can be dated back a couple of hundred years by now. As freezing the body during the winter is not a problem, storage is easy and done with a lot of care. Then when the weather gets warmer and heats up the ground, graves can be dug and the dead buried.   In the beginning this was done by families on their own but as settlements grew and more dead was stored for summer it slowly transformed into the communal festival it is today.


During the winter months bodies are kept in special buildings that are more open to the cold than living houses, and a lot of effort is put into making these places beautiful during this time. When the ground has been thawed for one week they start to prepare for the festival, something that usually takes several days with cooking of food, decorating and digging graves.   As the festival begins all the bodies are decorated by their own families and then brought out to the grave field. Songs are sung, special ceremonial dances are performed and the religious ceremonies done. The bodies are then buried all at the same time and when it's done everyone gathers for a huge meal while remembering and honouring the dead.

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Cover image: by Cornelia Jakobsson


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Jul 30, 2019 23:37

That was a weird summer festival. I really liked the idea though!   You mention people belonging to different religions, perhaps it'd be interesting to see what each of those religions thinks of death and the proper burial methods. It could be a good addition to the sidebar.   One thing that I think should be clarified is whether there is one massive grave, or individual graves are dug for every person that died during the festival.

Jul 31, 2019 14:50 by Eidal (former Etalia) Louwatt

I will definitely be adding to this article later on, I liked the concept myself but the reason it is vague is because I haven't actually worked out the religions in the area yet haha. It's a very good point that I need to remember though!   Oops, that definitely needs to be clarified, that was probably me writing too fast. Thanks for pointing it out!

Jul 31, 2019 17:26 by William Belley

About the event, is it more a low tone/calm one where mourning and moments of silence are present during the burial, or is it a more festive event to "celebrate the life they had" like in some portions of africa ? Or is it maybe in both those tones ?   Happy Summercamp ! :)

Jul 31, 2019 20:31 by Michael Blue

I find this very interesting. I haven't really thought about how people in my world deal with death. It shows how dangerous winter is and how the people mourn together even if they have different beliefs. It also shows how connected a settlement became something that was a personal event became shared by all.   Have a good Summercamp.

Aug 1, 2019 01:06 by Derek Ward

I love the concept of storing the bodies, and being unable to burn them due to religious traditions! Such a unique take on the idea of a summer festival, I think it brings something new to the table and definitely gets me interested in your world.   I'm particularly interested in the storage methods they use, and what gods would prohibit the burning of corpses. The article is interesting and engaging, to say the least, though I find myself asking a lot of questions that go unanswered.   I'm not sure if that is due to ensuring the article is released prior to the end of the competition or not, but the article leaves me wanting more. Can't wait to see what else you add to it, and I'd be particularly interested in the methods they use to preserve the bodies, as my mind wanders to the use of maybe some form of a special salve or other method that functions similar to formaldehyde.

Aug 1, 2019 02:22

Overall, I think this was a very unique idea that you came up with to get around burning the bodies, and I found myself having questions answered as I read, which is always a nice feeling.   Some critique for you, I did have a couple questions that were unanswered. For example, You mentioned the decoration of bodies. Is this decoration any different than what would happen if they had died in the summer? That could also extend to if the grave is decorated more if they had died in the winter vs. if they died in the summer. Finally, I think you could definitely fit some facts into the side bar, as you have some room left there. One of the thoughts I had was perhaps locations of famous/popular special buildings where the bodies are kept?   Nice job, and I hope you had a great summer :D