Kuna Yala Funerary Procedure, San Blas, Panama

I was lucky enough to visit a Kuna Cemetary while in San Blas.  I know this doesn’t sound like the greatest way to spend time in such a tropical paradise but knowing about my surrounding culture is directly linked to my enjoyment of my trips.  Here’s a bit of info on Kuna Funerary Procedure.

When a Kuna man dies the body is placed in a hammock in an underground burial chamber.  Under the hammock, personal items that the deceased may need in the afterlife are placed in the grave and the grave is covered.  Next a shed (large and concrete if you were wealthy and viewed as important or small and simple if not) is built over the grave.  Morepersonal items, flowers and mementos are placed around the grave under the shed.

The funeral ceremony consists of chanting, songs that wish the dead an easy and peaceful trip into the hereafter.  The chant is very detailed and take upwards of twenty-four hours to complete all the verses.

What’s really interesting is where the Kuna people are burried.  The bodies and mourners are floated up a river and burried on the banks.

It truly is a site to see and a sound to expierence.  Definitely take the time to visit the Kuna burial grounds.  Be mindful while there as the afterlife is a sacred part of this community of people.