I may have an explanation. Just finished reading a book, “Birds Without Wings” by Louis de Bernieres which covers the period of he Balkin Wars and WW1, in and around Turkey and the failing Ottoman Empire. In the story, a woman has died and been buried, but was accused of causing the death by plague of other villagers. Bodies were typically buried 5 years and then dug up, brushed clean and the bones put into a niche in the church. In this case it was believed if the bones were clean and white the woman was innocent. The women of the village are described as crying, singing, telling poems and in general being quite emotional as the body was dug up. Could this be a remnant of a 7,000 year old custom?
The book also describes the horrors of war of that period. Everybody was killing everybody, and the atrocities committed by at least 7 or 8 peoples against others, were as gruesome as those committed by ISIL/Daesh. They included torture and rape of women and little girls, crucifixions, death marches, etc. Also, large populations were displaced. Christians of Greek ancestry were kicked out of Turkey. Turks were kicked out of Greece, and many other similar bits of insanity. Read this book if you want to better understand today’s middle east and the mess it is in.