Beliefs Before and After Death

A Woman Ghost in Almudena Cemetery

There are many beliefs and superstitions about death, beliefs that are maintained from generation to generation through oral tradition.

I remember my grandmother saying that when a person is going to die family members, friends, and neighbors dream of red meat or that their teeth fall out. These two dreams are almost always fulfilled. For this reason when someone has this kind of dream, he begins to comment to others saying, “yesterday I had a very ugly dream. Someone is going to die.” People start to mutter this in their houses and this idea grows larger when at night the dogs begin to howl and thus confirm that someone is going to die. The days go by and someone dies. Then, those who had those dreams say, “that’s why I dreamed meat, that’s why I dreamed of pulling my teeth out.”

When someone dies it is believed that the soul does not immediately leave the body. For a few more days it goes to all the places it visited when it was alive. My grandmother said that one day her friend from the neighborhood died. All got together in the parish home to sit with the body. One of the relatives did not go; he stayed looking after the house all night and this was the worst night of his life. When he was in a room that was on the second floor, he began to hear that someone was walking in the corral. All the chickens made sounds as if someone was herding them. He was very scared. He did not want to go out and see who was there. Suddenly, the chickens fell silent and a rooster started to crow. In his whole life he had never heard a cock crow at night. This scared him a lot. He covered himself with blankets and began to pray, when suddenly someone made strange sounds in the kitchen, opening and closing the water faucet and turning the radio on and off.

It was something inexplicable because there was nobody in the house but him. When everything calmed down, the hours passed but he could not sleep. Suddenly he heard footsteps approaching the room he was in when the door flew open and a very cold wind came in.

He spoke loudly in the manner of shouts. “What do you want? Get out of here”.

The steps felt like they were leaving the room and going down the stairs. From then on everything was calm until the next day, very early the morning when the family returned from sitting with the body.

When they all heard the experience of the man who stayed to take care of the house, they were not surprised. They know that the dead wander a few days on earth collecting their tracks and visiting friends to say goodbye even if they are in the most distant places, or they ppear in dreams. They make steps or footsteps on the floors of the houses they visit.

After the person is dead, the first thing that is done is to dress him in his best clothes and the shoes. Since when yiu dream you close your eyes people close their eyelids. They think that if they are not well closed, when the dead person is underground their eyes will shine.

When the dead person is buried and you notice that there is not enough dirt to cover the hole, people get scared because they believe that very soon someone else will die.

If you hear someone call your name and you answer, but then you realize that there is no one around, you have the belief that they are already calling you from beyond. When your ear suddenly buzzes, you quickly cross your ear three times because it is believed that death passes through there and making the three crosses guarantees that she will not pass by your side again.

All these beliefs are part of our daily experience and although we say that they are beliefs or superstitions, they are almost always fulfilled.

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