Cultures around the world have various different traditions and rituals they conduct when it comes to funerals and deaths. Different sects, tribes and religions treat their dead in various different ways that range from burials and cremations to even vultures feasting on corpses. But, there is a tribe indigenous to the Amazon that has a peculiar manner of cleansing the souls of their deceased, and it's pretty graphic.

The Yanomami tribe are an approximately 35,000 strong tribe living in the Amazon rainforest.

Divided into about 200-250 temporary villages, in an area around the border between Venezuela and Brazil, the Yanomami seemed to have first been discovered by the West in 1759. The tribe is peculiar in a lot of different ways, other than just their tribal rituals. Earliest sources claim that the Yanomami refused to create alliances and relationships with neighbouring tribes. Which, could be one reason why they weren't particularly affected by the mass killing of tribal people in surrounding areas due to slave-hunting expeditions by the Spanish Conquistadors and the Portuguese Bandeirantes - researchers speculate.


One really amazing bit of faith the Yanomami religion believes is that death is not a natural part or progression of life.

The nomadic tribe has survived to be almost completely insulated from all other cultures and tribes, leaving their religious beliefs untouched. Death, by what would otherwise be considered natural reasons, is believed to occur when a rival tribe's shaman sends an evil spirit to directly attack them. Talk about paranoia!


This means that the Yanomami believe that the purification of a soul after death is of absolute importance.

Since the Yanomami believe cremation to be more liberating than burials, the dead are left for nature to take its course on them for about a month and a half. The tribe then collects the remnant bones and prepare them for cremation. But, this still doesn't complete the process of purification.


It is only when the tribe consumes the ashes from the burial that the soul is truly considered to have achieved freedom.

The only way to freedom is a nice fermented banana soup mixture, topped off with the ashes of their dead. The postmortem meal is distributed to all in the community and has to be finished in one sitting. The only time there can be an exception is when the deceased was killed by an enemy.


If an enemy killed the person, then the Yanomami would have to first avenge the death before enjoying their soupy remains.

Otherwise, it's no fun. The tribe believes that death caused by an enemy has to be avenged in order for the soul to be completely at peace. Only then can the ashes be consumed. And, in this particular case only the women are allowed to finish the meal, which has to happen on the night the raid for revenge is planned. But, not finished until the matter of revenge has been taken care of completely. Damn!


Interesting fact: The movie Cannibal Holocaust is supposed to have been represented the Yanomami tribe.

'Cause the best meals bring families together.