Beheading, other strange Pangasinan burial rites recalled | Inquirer News

Beheading, other strange Pangasinan burial rites recalled

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Did you know that the early Pangasinense had to behead a slave or one of their enemies before ending their mourning with a feast?

This strange practice was recorded by Spanish priest Diego Aduarte in the 1600, says Erwin Fernandez, a local historian.

“Before the advent of Spanish colonialism … [Pangasinense] practiced mourning in this way: In the first three days, they did not eat anything. For the next three days, they contented themselves with a small fruit. And after this, for a longer period, they relied only on roots and herbs without sipping any wine,” Fernandez says.


Sign of bereavement


During this mourning ritual, the bereaved had to wear a gold chain around their necks as a sign of bereavement. This was taken off after they had murdered a slave or an enemy, after which they proceeded to eating and drinking, or feasting, without limit, he says.

But these mourning rituals had long been erased by the Spaniards because they thought these were pagan practices, says Ma. Crisanta Nelmida-Flores, professor of Philippine studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City.

Aside from Aduarte’s references to Pangasinan province’s mourning rituals, Flores says she encountered an account on early Pangasinense’s use of salt on the dead to prolong the preservation of the body.

“It’s just like in the Cordillera [region], they mummify their dead. But for early Pangasinense, it’s basically the salt, which is also very important,” she said.

In her book, “Pangasinan 1572-1800,” historian Rosario Mendoza Cortes says early Pangasinense believed in life after death.

“On the grave of the dead, the natives placed material possessions like food for his voyage, oil to anoint him, clothes to wear and gold to pay the ‘banquero’ (boatman) who would carry him through a river to the next world,” Cortes says.


Slaves buried with dead

“Moreover, if the dead belonged to the high ranks of the society, one or two slaves were buried with him to serve him in the next world,” she adds.

Mourning practices these days are already folk beliefs, which are a mixture of the pre-Hispanic and American period practices, Flores says.

Examples of these are the beliefs that it is not good to take a bath or to sweep the floor while mourning, she says.

“Like language, these beliefs got into our culture from other regions. Media and film are very potent. There’s been a lot of horror films,” she says.

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Mourning includes the celebration of the “longpos” or “lompos,” which is the ninth day of prayers for the dead.

TAGS: News, Pangasinan, Regions, Rituals

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