Accepted paper:

Conducting the soul of the deceased to the abode of the dead in hudhud epics and epic-shaped ritual performances among the Ifugao and Yattuka (the Philippines)


Maria Stanyukovich (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Science)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the role of landscapes in funeral epic-shaped narratives of Philippine highlanders. Special emphasis is given to manipulating memory of the living and the dead in the process of leading the soul first through real, than through mythological geography.

Paper long abstract:

Recent death jeopardises the boundary between the worlds of the leaving and the dead, which needs to be restored for the safety of the community. Among the Philippine highlanders residing in the Ifugao province this function is performed by the means of epics or epic-shaped ritual chants sung during funeral wakes. This genre bears a name of "the story of the dead" (hudhud di nate in Ifugao, hudhud ni nosi in Yattuka). The soul of the deceased has to be conducted successfully from the village where the funeral rite takes place to the abode of the dead. That implies summoning the Conductor of souls, who helps the singers to let the soul refresh its memories first by visiting the places that played the crucial role in the life of the deceased person. After that the soul is 'pushed' downstream, first through real, than through mythological geography . Before the soul reaches the underworld, there is a possession. The soul talks to the relatives and is being persuaded to forget the way back. The paper is based on the author's field materials collected in Ifugao province, including the funeral hudhud texts recorded in Asipulo, Kiangan and Lagawe municipalities in 1995-2012 and interviews with epic singers and shamans. Field data are compared to early records on rituals and beliefs of the population of the area that date back to the beginning of the XXth c. Of those R.F. Barton's writings are of crucial importance.

panel WMW10
Listening landscapes, speaking memories