By Evon Z. Vogt
In Zinacanteco society, positioned within the higher elevations of Chiapas, southern Mexico, rituals functionality for the Zinacanteco humans as conversation and to arrange existence right into a 4 staged-life cycle. Zinacantan status comes with age, and a few rituals are just played by way of humans of a the next social prestige, equivalent to aged or prosperous suggest. ladies are usually relegated to minor roles. a few rituals appear designed to relieve the tensions among various periods in addition to conflicting ideals, comparable to tensions among Mayan and Christian traditions. Rituals dominate each element of the Zinacanteco society and are taken very heavily.
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Extra info for Tortillas for the Gods: A Symbolic Analysis of Zinacanteco Rituals
By contrast, Zinacanteco economic life has undergone more rapid and profound changes. Population has grown as a result of the declining death rate that came with improved sanitary and medical conditions. The consequent scarcity of farming land and the attraction of wage work in the outside world have combined to generate a significant shift from maize farming to other economic activities, such as flower and fruit growing, trucking, and the buying and selling of corn, beans, fruit, and flowers and retailing them in the major urban markets, including Mexico City.
The tapes have been transcribed by informants whom we have taught to read and to write (and in several cases to type) in both Tzotzil and Spanish. The Harvard Chiapas Project and Zinacantan are described in detail in Zinacantan: A Maya Community in the Highlands of Chiapas (Vogt 1969). From the outset I have been deeply interested in the ritual life of Zinacantan and have spent more field time concentrating on this topic than on any other aspect of the culture. Even so, this book does not attempt to describe and analyze all Page xviii of the Zinacanteco rituals, a task that would require several volumes.
They readily seek dental work for toothaches, casts for broken bones, and aspirin for minor headaches. But if a Zinacanteco has a lingering illness, or if it is suspected that a patient has lost parts of his soul, or worse, that his animal spirit companion has been set loose from its protective corral, or that an enemy is engaged in some type of witchcraft, a shaman is summoned with dispatch to perform the necessary divination and a proper curing ceremony. Shamans are also still needed and called upon to bless new houses and maize fields and to perform ceremonies for waterhole and lineage groups, as well as rain-making rites in times of drought.