Starting Life

Walter E. A. van Beek

in The Dancing Dead

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199858149
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949489 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ritual Studies Series

Starting Life

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The first chapter of the rites of belonging describes the rituals surrounding birth. Starting with the presentation of twins, the text details the symbolic acts that define identity, including the local naming system based on birth order. Special births demand special rituals; twins are a prime case and generate large feasts in Kapsiki/Higi culture, but so do other varieties of birth. A section on the symbols that define personhood then tries to “read” the symbols of Kapsiki twin rituals, arguing that twins in Kapsiki are not children at all, but people in a perpetual state of liminality, forever betwixt and between, thus ending this chapter on the slow dawn of Kapsiki personal identity.

Keywords: birth; naming; identity; twins; symbols; liminality

Chapter.  11780 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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