“Nobody dies on the eve of their last day”

Mérida M. Rúa

in A Grounded Identidad

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199760268
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950256 | DOI:
“Nobody dies on the eve of their last day”

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This chapter is about commemorations as a central ritual of community in Puerto Rican Chicago. At wakes, for example, there were lively debates about what had been a life of success or a life of failure, and, hence, the experience of the community itself. There were also many celebrations of continuing lives, weddings, baby showers, and birthday parties. It examines how commemorations, the sharing and making of memories, influence the social dimensions of identity. Contests over identity, power, and recognition, mobilize memory, as both place and practice, to establish legitimacy and to affirm claims to belonging. Commemorations show that, even in death, there is social life and that, even as identity is a matter of becoming, so it is deeply historical.

Keywords: memory; commemorations; social life; weddings; baby showers; birthdays

Chapter.  11044 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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