House Cry

Posted: October 29, 2012 in Misang in Papua New Guinea, Misang's Travels
Tags: ,

Last night while watching TV with hubs, we heard some shouting and wailing and we didn’t know where it’s coming from. We thought it’s just some couple fighting. But when we went to our bedroom, the crying and wailing grew louder.

We figured it’s coming from the house behind ours. At first we were imagining a lot of things like a cult ritual or someone died. So we finally peeped through our window and saw a group of people crying. Hubs told me that it might be what they call the “House Cry”. I wasn’t able to sleep soundly last night because of that. The sound is creepy and gives me goosebumps…and it’s Halloween season!

When I woke up this morning, I immediately googled this house cry thing and I saw this blog and I qoute,

“Death is mourned very differently here than in the states. The people rub mud all over their bodies and clothes and wail for days and days. The wailing lasted all night and all day today and could be heard from just outside our house.(The village is on the other end of campus only a few hundred yards from our house) Over 600 people came from neighboring villages and cities that knew him to join in the “house cry” as it is called. The dead are typically put into a large freezer at the hospital then taken to their village where they will stay for days until they are buried. Bill had gotten some extra money this month so he used it to put him into a funeral home which is very expensive here.”

This one is from mojotrotters.com: “When someone dies Highlands of PNG, the village gathers for days in collective mourning, called a haus krai. To attend a funeral, where the bereaved wail loudly and publicly, is a journey that tries one’s body and emotions.”

That explains what we heard last night. Maybe someone died just last night, and until now I can hear their cries. I just wonder how long will their mourning be…

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