Ritual Humor in Highland Chiapas: Book by Victoria Reifler Bricker

Ritual Humor in Highland Chiapas

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ISBN: 9780292719361    Publisher: University of Texas Press Year of publishing: 1973     Format:  Paperback No of Pages: 296        
Zinacantan, Chamula, and Chenalho are neighbouring Mayan communities situated in highland Chiapas, Mexico, near the city of San Cristobal Las Casas. The inhabitants of the three communities speak dialects...Read more
Zinacantan, Chamula, and Chenalho are neighbouring Mayan communities situated in highland Chiapas, Mexico, near the city of San Cristobal Las Casas. The inhabitants of the three communities speak dialects of the Tzotzil language. Five religious fiestas, celebrated by these communities in honour of their saints, provide the data for Victoria Bricker's comparative study of ritual humour. In Chenalho and Chamula performances of ritual humour are concentrated in the five-day period of a single fiesta, while in Zanacantan similar performances are distributed over three fiestas. In these fiesta settings, performers in distinctive costumes make obscene and sacrilegious remarks in the context of religious ritual. These performances are defined as ritual humour because they occur only in ritual settings. Bricker's study constitutes a controlled cross-cultural comparison of ceremonial or ritual humour in its social and cultural setting. Much new information is provided in verbatim texts, recorded during actual fiesta performances. The study reveals that, although the three communities share a common pool of ritual symbols, they elaborate them differently in ritual humour.
The study analyzes the symbolic expression of values, social organization, and interethnic relations.
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