HANDLING DEATH – DEN TOD IN DIE HAND NEHMEN
LATYA, a Death Ritual of the Newars in Bhaktapur, Nepal
a film by Niels Gutschow and Axel Michaels
D, 2004, 48 minutes
Hindu death rituals are about accompanying and pacifying the dead. The deceased is taken on a long journey in the afterworld to the realm of the ancestors. At the same time the surviving dependents must ensure that the deceased will not become an unpacified soul, a ghost. It is the duty of the first-born son, to provide a new body. After one year, the deceased joins his or her ancestors. This ritual is called sapindikarana or latya in the language of the Newars, the urban population of the Kathmandu Valley. It takes place on the 13th or 45th day after death.