Field Notes

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Field Notes

Field work examining two elements of my culture


The purpose of this paper is to conduct fieldwork and identify and examine two elements of my culture which are evident through rituals and celebrations. My cultural heritage is African American, and the two methods of fieldwork through which this research has been conducted is the eye witness report, based on past experiences which I have witnessed firsthand and secondly documentary material obtained from living informants which are my parents.


The African American Culture has traditions of the many African ethnic groups; the foundation of the African American Culture is a mixture of Sub Saharan African and Sahelean cultures. Although most of the African traditions were suppressed by years of slavery, African American culture has thrived to maintain its distinct identity (Anonymous, n.d). The two cultural elements discussed are rituals and ceremonies.


The ritual which I will be discussing is still a very prominent element of our African American heritage, I have witnessed and taken part in this ritual many times. The ritual under discussion is the ritual of death. Unlike most Americans' death has a different meaning in our lives and is not considered as a time of sorrow, instead people rejoice the departure of the deceased, since we consider that his trials and difficulties have ended and he is now ready to make way to his afterlife. The ritual processions are conducted for 3 days in the past my ancestors followed this ritual for more than a week in which the deceased was remembered and spoken about. Now the ritual is only for 3 days. A very strong belief that we have regarding the burial is that the deceased must only be buried on a sunny day, and if for instance it is raining the burial will be postponed. The sun shining ...
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