Harvesting Crops, Harvesting People

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

Harvesting Crops, Harvesting People

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The name Kapsiki refers to beer brewing, and that is what this chapter starts with. Its main topic is the year ritual during harvest time, that finalizes the girls’ and boys’ initiation, and ties together various ritual strands. The brides have a spectacular display of their trousseau, ending the long series of gift exchanges. The boy initiates perform the final rites of their initiation, with the test of the river crossing as high point. The feast itself zooms in on the secondary marriages, the adult new wives and their grooms, who form the focus of a huge and spectacular dance. The final section details how this year feast is the high point of the ritual calendar and thus serves as an identity marker for the Kapsiki/Higi as a whole. This ritual calendar is crucial: one major feature of Kapsiki/Higi ritual is a close integration between the rites of dwelling and those of belonging in this ritual calendar: the harvest of crops is also the harvest of people.

Keywords: harvest; initiation; exchange; test; second marriage; calendar; identity

Chapter.  8261 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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