Palo Society

Todd Ramón Ochoa

in Society of the Dead

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520256835
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947924 | DOI:
Palo Society

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This chapter provides an overview of Palo society as the author perceived it from his correspondence with Teodoro Herrera, who presided over the Quita Manaquita Briyumba Congo praise house. Like all Palo praise houses, Teodoro's house was marked by closed initiations and a strict hierarchy that privileged men within the society, but not so much that knowledgeable women could not rise to prominence within it. Community, friendship, trust, song, dance, drums, knowledge, and confidence in the realm of the dead are qualities that define Palo society and make it beautiful. Palo society surrounds prendas-ngangas-enquisos, which are versions or turns of the dead, sustaining their powers in the hearts of people. The society is knowledge and sociability knotted into a lace of power and prestige capable of determining life and death, teaching deference to teachers, elders, and the dead, who are all praised.

Keywords: Palo society; Palo praise house; prendas-ngangas-enquisos; sociability; community

Chapter.  4949 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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