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lecture_10_2 - 21A.100 Prof Howe Symbolism and Ritual Its a...

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21A.100 Prof. Howe Symbolism and Ritual It’s a huge topic, it could cover a whole course 1. Two examples: a. Mariage ritual from the Kuna called “the dragging” i. Bride and groom would not choose each other, but their parents would arrange the marriage secretly. The groom’s friends would traditionally surprise him and drag him down the street. (Now a days, they don’t fight back so hard and they know ahead of time). His friends run down the street with him yelling, “groom! Groom!” and bring him to the house of his bride, and throw him in a hammock. They throw the bride in on top of the groom and swing the couple back and forth. Usually the groom runs out and then they have to drag him back. After a couple rounds of this they throw a burning brand in underneath the hammock with the couple in it and that’s it for the day. The next day, he and his future father-in-law go off to the forest by boat and chop down a certain number of logs and prepare them and then load them back into the canoe to bring it home. The groom goes back to his own house and the father-in-law brings the wood in. The bride then goes and takes the groom by the hand and brings him back to her house and they are considered married. If the groom wishes to avoid this, he can run away to another village for 6 months. For the most part, people think this ritual is great fun, but there are important messages being conveyed. 1. Households are made up of a senior couple and their daughter and their husbands. The whole work system is based on fathers-in-law exploiting the work of their sons- in-law. 2. But the fact that the son on law leaves the father in law to empty the canoe full of wood symbolizes that the man is not a slave, but he works in a partnership with the father in law. b. A second example from Prof. Howe’s family: Jumping the Broom i. The night before the church wedding at the bridal dinner, there’s a broom that the couple jumps over. But the new couple jumps over
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only after all the other couples in the family who performed this ritual at their own wedding. It’s an old tradition started by Prof. Howe’s great grandmother. The broom is sent all over the country for various family weddings. After jumping each couple ties a ribbon around the handle with their
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