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Worldbuilding

mourning among kaibyou

Posted Over 1 Year ago by linguistcat

While natural death (death from "old age" and the body wearing out) is unheard of in kaibyou as with most other youkai, they can be killed or die from specific illnesses and toxins, and in the case of nekomata, they can die from not fulfilling their grudge as is necessary to them. To the world around the kaibyou, in human form, they are expected to follow the mourning traditions that the people of Japan follow. So, culturally specific mourning practices are done in their cat forms.

The cats closest to the deceased might stay completely in cat form for months, or only take their human forms when absolutely necessary. Other cats who knew the deceased but were not particularly close might only mourn when in cat form for other reasons. And cats that didn't know the deceased well or at all are not expected to do any mourning, although they are expected to give time and space for other cats to do their mourning.

In this first stage, the cat will yowl and "sing" into the night for the spirit of their lost companion. This is especially true when the cat was a nekomata that didn't fulfill their grudge, since it would be expected the cat's spirit would be stuck in Hell for a time before it can reincarnate, if it can move on at all. It's believed that singing for their spirits like this shows that they are missed, that the cat in question may have done some amount of "evil", but that they were a Good Cat, and so should have the chance to reincarnate or even have their time spent in Hell reduced.

After the first shock of grief wears off a bit and they can get back to their day to day lives, they might still yowl on occasion, but in general, they will avoid mentioning or talking about the other cat for about a year or two. This timing depends on when the deceased cat died and how long the first stage of grief lasted, and how strongly the cat who is mourning felt about the deceased. But the end point is always either New Years (正月 Shougatsu) or Bon festival (お盆 o-Bon); New Years because it's a fresh start and Bon festival because it's traditionally the holiday the spirits of the dead come back to Earth to check up on those they've left behind, and then return to the afterlife at the end of the week.

After this time passes, while they are still allowed to grieve, especially if the deceased cat and the mourning cat were very close, the period of mourning is officially over. That said because kaibyou can and do live for centuries, some cats continue their mourning of a loved one for many years or decades.

There are 7 Replies


Particularly relevant recently.

Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

Yes, because Bon festival is happening soon, it's National Cat Day and my own feline companion passed away this morning. :'(

Over 1 Year ago
linguistcat
 

@linguistcat:
Bon or Obon festival is new to me.
I think that the Adpihi (and Reptigan) in particular, and in general most of my consocieties with patriclans and matriclans (and sometimes alterclans or “ropes”), will also make family reunions out of holidays to visit the graves of, and honor the memories of, their patrilineal ancestors (one holiday — “father’s day”), and their matrilineal ancestresses (another holiday — “mother’s day”), and maybe also their ancestors/ancestresses along the ‘rope”.
Thanks for making me look it up!

———

Are you in Canada now?
In Canada , National Cat Day was August 8th this year; but in the USA, it will be October 29th. I think.

———

I’ve had some cats and some dogs die. It’s saddening. George Carlin talked about it, if I remember correctly.

Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

I'm not in Canada, but my husband and I have friends in Canada and across the world, so he must have heard it was "Cat Day" from one of them (and I saw it on tumblr later), and we just assumed. Still, it was Cat Day somewhere.

Sam wasn't my first pet to die but for various reasons he was the first I was with firsthand when he passed.

Over 1 Year ago
linguistcat
 

@linguistcat:
It’s happened both ways for me. More than once I was there; more than once I wasn’t.

Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

@linguistcat:
When will we hear more from you?
(Hope you’re doing OK!)

Over 1 Year ago
eldin raigmore
 

@linguistcat:
When will we hear more from you?
(Hope you’re doing OK!)

4 Months ago
chiarizio
 

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