Ancient sources and modern scholars have often represented the Athenian festival of Adonis as a marginal and faintly ridiculous private women's ritual. Seeds were planted each year in pots and, once sprouted, carried to the rooftops, where women lamented the death of Aphrodite's youthful consort Adonis. Laurialan Reitzammer resourcefully examines a wide array of surviving evidence about the Adonia, arguing for its symbolic importance in fifth- and fourth-century Athenian culture as an occasion for gendered commentary on mainstream Athenian practices.
Reitzammer reveals correlations of the Adonia to Athenian wedding rituals and civic funeral oration and provides illuminating evidence that the festival was a significant cultural template for such diverse works as Aristophanes' drama Lysistrata and Plato's dialogue Phaedrus. Her fresh approach offers a timely contribution to studies of the ways gender and sexuality intersect with religion and ritual in ancient Greece.
"Nineteenth-century writer Karl May wrote novels about a fictionalized American Wild West that count among the most popular books of German literature to this day. His stories left an imprint on German culture, resulting in a variety of Wild West festivals featuring Native Americans and frontier settlers. These Karl May festivals are hosted widely throughout German-speaking countries today.
This book, based on years of fieldwork observing and studying the festivals, plays, events, and groups that comprise this subculture, addresses a larger, timely issue: cultural transfer and appropriations. Are Germans dressing up in American Indian costumes paying tribute or offending the cultures they are representing? Avoiding simplistic answers, A. Dana Weber considers the complexity of cultural enactments as they relate both to the distinctly German phenomenon as well as to larger questions of cultural representations in American and European live performance traditions."
An appreciative examination of the New England clambake, Neustadt divides her study into three parts: historical (social, economic, political, regional, and cultural) influences on the clambake; a close focus on the Allen's Neck clambake as a cultural phenomena in its own right; and a critical examination of the central elements of the clambaking tradition--food, ritual, and festival. The author views the clambake as a unique American folk tradition with interesting connections and rich resonances with other aspects of American culture and history.
The Cultures of Celebrations
Edited by Ray B. Browne and Michael T. Marsden University of Wisconsin Press, 1994 Library of Congress GT3930.C85 1994 | Dewey Decimal 394.26
Popular entertainments are windows into the attitudes and values of the people who participate in them. They both reflect and affect society as they celebrate an aspect of life. The fifteen essays in this collection demonstrate various aspects of celebrations of cultures and the importance they have in those cultures.
Topics include: feminine processions and masculine parades; political activism and quietism in Shi’a rituals; civic socializing in Puritan New England; the circus and American culture; the Wild West shows; beauty pageants; theme parks; Bourbon Street, New Orleans; and Stonehenge.
How was it possible for drama, especially biblical representations, to appear in the Christian West given the church's condemnation of the theatrum of the ancient world?In a book with radical implications for the study of medieval literature, Lawrence Clopper resolves this perplexing question.
Drama, Play, and Game demonstrates that the theatrum repudiated by medieval clerics was not "theater" as we understand the term today. Clopper contends that critics have misrepresented Western stage history because they have assumed that theatrum designates a place where drama is performed. While theatrum was thought of as a site of spectacle during the Middle Ages, the term was more closely connected with immodest behavior and lurid forms of festive culture. Clerics were not opposed to liturgical representations in churches, but they strove ardently to suppress May games, ludi, festivals, and liturgical parodies. Medieval drama, then, stemmed from a more vernacular tradition than previously acknowledged-one developed by England's laity outside the boundaries of clerical rule.
From the ancient Near East to modern-day North America, communal consumption of food and drink punctuates the rhythms of human societies. Feasts serve many social purposes, establishing alliances for war and marriage, mobilizing labor, creating political power and economic advantages, and redistributing wealth. In this collection of fifteen essays, archaeologists and ethnographers explore the material record of food and its consumption as social practice. They examine the locations of roasting pits, hearths, and refuse deposits, or the presence of special decorative ceramics, and infer ways in which feasting traditions reveal social structures of lineage, clan, moiety, and polity.
The festivals of the Athenian sacred calendar constitute a vital key to classical Greek culture and religion. Erika Simon sets out here to explicate those complex and often obscure festivals. By careful marshaling of a variety of proofs from literary, historical, and archaeological sources, she is able to justify some startling conclusions and achieve a comprehensive and truly original synthesis that clarifies, as never before, the probable origins and meanings of the Attic cults.
With the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in 1808, many African Americans began calling for "a day of publick thanksgiving" to commemorate this important step toward freedom. During the ensuing century, black leaders built on this foundation and constructed a distinctive and vibrant tradition through their celebrations of the end of slavery in New York State, the British West Indies, and eventually the United States as a whole. In this revealing study, Mitch Kachun explores the multiple functions and contested meanings surrounding African American emancipation celebrations from the abolition of the slave trade to the fiftieth anniversary of U.S. emancipation. Excluded from July Fourth and other American nationalist rituals for most of this period, black activists used these festivals of freedom to encourage community building and race uplift. Kachun demonstrates that, even as these annual rituals helped define African Americans as a people by fostering a sense of shared history, heritage, and identity, they were also sites of ambiguity and conflict. Freedom celebrations served as occasions for debate over black representations in the public sphere, struggles for group leadership, and contests over collective memory and its meaning. Based on extensive research in African American newspapers and oration texts, this book retraces a vital if often overlooked tradition in African American political culture and addresses important issues about black participation in the public sphere. By illuminating the origins of black Americans' public commemorations, it also helps explain why there have been increasing calls in recent years to make the "Juneteenth" observance of emancipation an American—not just an African American—day of commemoration.
Festive Devils of the Americas
Edited by Milla Cozart Riggio, Angela Marino, and Paolo Vignolo Seagull Books, 2015 Library of Congress GT4801.F47 2015
The devil is a defiant, nefarious figure, the emblem of evil, and harbinger of the damned. However, the festive devil—the devil that dances—turns the most hideous acts into playful transgressions. Festive Devils of the Americas is the first volume to present a transnational and performance-centered approach to this fascinating, feared, and revered character of fiestas, street festivals, and carnivals in North, Central, and South America. As produced and performed in both rural and urban communities and among neighborhood groups and councils, festive devils challenge the principles of colonialism and nation-states reliant on the straight and narrow opposition between good and evil, black and white, and us and them.
Each section of this volume opens with regional maps ranging from the Andes, Afro-Atlantic, and Caribbean, to Central and North America. However, festive devils defy geographical as well as moral boundaries. From Brazil’s Candomblé to New Mexico’s dance halls, festive devils and their stories sustain and transform ancestral memory, recast historical narratives, and present political, social, and cultural alternatives in many guises. Within economic, political, and religious cross-currents, these paradoxical figures affirm the spirit of community within the framework of subversion and inversion found at the heart of the festival world.
In 1937, the Soviet Union mounted a national celebration commemorating the centenary of poet Alexander Pushkin’s death. Though already a beloved national literary figure, the scale and feverish pitch of the Pushkin festival was unprecedented. Greetings, Pushkin! presents the first in-depth study of this historic event and follows its manifestations in art, literature, popular culture, education, and politics, while also examining its philosophical underpinnings.
Jonathan Brooks Platt looks deeply into the motivations behind the Soviet glorification of a long-dead poet—seemingly at odds with the October Revolution’s radical break with the past. He views the Pushkin celebration as a conjunction of two opposing approaches to time and modernity: monumentalism, which points to specific moments and individuals as the origin point for cultural narratives, and eschatology, which glorifies ruptures in the chain of art or thought and the destruction of canons.
In the midst of the Great Purge, the Pushkin jubilee was a critical element in the drive toward a nationalist discourse that attempted to unify and subsume the disparate elements of the Soviet Union, supporting the move to “socialism in one country.”
In Tune With The World
Josef Pieper St. Augustine's Press, 1999 Library of Congress GT3930.P433 1999 | Dewey Decimal 394.26
In this stimulating and still-timely study, Josef Pieper takes up a theme of paramount importance to his thinking – that festivals belong by rights among the great topics of philosophical discussion. As he develops his theory of festivity, the modern age comes under close and painful scrutiny. It is obvious that we no longer know what festivity is, namely, the celebration of existence under various symbols
Pieper exposes the pseudo-festivals, in their harmless and their sinister forms: traditional feasts contaminated by commercialism; artificial holidays created in the interest of merchandisers; holidays by coercion, decreed by dictators the world over; festivals as military demonstrations; holidays empty of significance. And lastly we are given the apocalyptic vision of a nihilistic world which would seek its release not in festivities but in destruction.
Formulated with Pieper's customary clarity and elegance, enhanced by brilliantly chosen quotations, this is an illuminating contribution to the understanding of traditional and contemporary experience.
Pathways of Memory and Power crosses the disciplinary boundary where anthropology and history meet, exploring the cultural frontier of the colonial and postcolonial Andes. Thomas A. Abercrombie uses his fieldwork in the Aymara community of Santa Barbara de Culta, Bolivia, as a starting point for his ambitious examination of the relations between European forms of historical consciousness and indigenous Andean ways of understanding the past. Writing in an inviting first-person narrative style, Abercrombie confronts the ethics of fieldwork by comparing ethnographic experience to the power-laden contexts that produce historical sources.
Making clear the early and deep intermingling of practices and world views among Spaniards and Andeans, Christians and non-Christians, Abercrombie critiques both the romanticist tendency to regard Andean culture as still separate from and resistant to European influences, and the melodramatic view that all indigenous practices have been obliterated by colonial and national elites. He challenges prejudices that, from colonial days to the present, have seen Andean historical knowledge only in mythic narratives or narratives of personal experience. Bringing an ethnographer’s approach to historiography, he shows how complex Andean rituals that hybridize European and indigenous traditions—such as libation dedications and llama sacrifices held on saints’ day festivals—are in fact potent evidence of social memory in the community.
In Pole Raising and Speech Making, author Jennifer Eastman Attebery focuses on the beginnings of the traditional Scandinavian Midsummer celebration and the surrounding spring-to-summer seasonal festivities in the Rocky Mountain West during the height of Swedish immigration to the area—1880–1917.
Combining research in folkloristics and history, Attebery explores various ways that immigrants blended traditional Swedish Midsummer-related celebrations with local civic celebrations of American Independence Day on July 4 and the Mormons’ Pioneer Day on July 24. Functioning as multimodal observances with multiple meanings, these holidays represent and reconsider ethnicity and panethnicity, sacred and secular relationships, and the rural and the urban, demonstrating how flexible and complex traditional celebrations can be.
Providing a wealth of detail and information surrounding little-studied celebrations and valuable archival and published primary sources—diaries, letters, speeches, newspaper reports, and images—Pole Raising and Speech Making is proof that non-English immigrant culture must be included when discussing “American” culture. It will be of interest to scholars and graduate students in ethnic studies, folklore, ritual and festival studies, and Scandinavian American cultural history.
"Leah Marcus's The Politics of Mirth: Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Marvell, and the Defense of Old Holiday Pastimes is a fascinating study of why James and Charles promoted some types of rural sport and festival and of how certain literary texts participated in promoting or critiquing royal policy. . . . Marcus provocatively links texts not often studied in conjunction with one another, and she provides strong and detailed readings of those texts."—Jean E. Howard
Public Performances offers a deep and wide-ranging exploration of relationships among genres of public performance and of the underlying political motivations they share. Illustrating the connections among three themes—the political, the carnivalesque, and the ritualesque—this volume provides rich and comprehensive insight into public performance as an assertion of political power.
Contributors consider how public genres of performance express not only celebration but also dissent, grief, and remembrance; examine the permeability of the boundaries between genres; and analyze the approval or regulation of such events by municipalities and other institutions. Where the particular use of public space is not sanctioned or where that use meets with hostility from institutions or represents a critique of them, performers are effectively reclaiming public space to make public statements on their own terms—an act of popular sovereignty.
Through these concepts, Public Performances distinguishes the sometimes overlapping dimensions of public symbolic display. Carnival, and thus the carnivalesque, is understood to possess tacit social permission for unconventional or even deviant performance, on the grounds that normal social order will resume when the performance concludes. Ritual, and the ritualesque, leverages a deeper symbolic sensibility, one believed—or at least intended—by the participants to effect transformative, longer-term change.
Contributors: Roger D. Abrahams, John Borgonovo, Laurent Sébastien Fournier, Lisa Gilman, Barbara Graham, David Harnish, Samuel Kinser, Scott Magelssen, Elena Martinez, Pamela Moro, Beverly J. Stoeltje, Daniel Wojcik, Dorothy L. Zinn
During the patron saint fiesta in the Andean town of San Jerónimo, Peru, crowds gather at sunset in the town square, eagerly awaiting the entrance of the colorful dance troupes, or comparsas. With their masks, music, and surprising interpretations of contemporary events, the comparsas of the Cusco region are the focus of this multifaceted work. At the crossroads of folklore and ritual, mass media and local preferences, and regional and national identity, the comparsas—recorded here on VHS, DVD, and compact disc—have become a powerful way for the local people to make sense of their place in Peru and in the world. As Zoila Mendoza shows, they do more than reflect societal changes, they actively transform society.
In this fluid world, she argues, racial and ethnic identities are shaped more by notions of what is decent, elegant, and modern rather than by skin color or status. As the different troupes vie for the townspeople's recognition as the most "authentic" group, these notions are challenged and reworked. A fascinating look at a rich tradition, this innovative work is also a compelling example of the critical anthropology of performance.
How ritualized public ceremonies affirm or challenge cultural identities associated with the American South
* A Choice Outstanding Academic Title
"From the jazz funeral processions in the streets of New Orleans to the annual Natchez Pilgrimage in Mississippi and the Scottish Highland games atop Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, the reader is exposed to a diverse southern culture, or heritage, that is often overlooked by many people, both within and outside the South. The reality of a southern culture based in Mexican heritage or a celebration of [a] Southeastern tribe's heritage through the powwow helps deconstruct the myth of a solid southern culture as one that is simply portrayed as black and white." —Florida Historical Quarterly
"The ambition Celeste Ray sets out in her introduction is to show how these groups are not only in the South but of it, how they interpret their diverse identities as Southern—put another way, to answer a question that arises in one noteworthy piece, why do Indians in North Carolina eat barbecue pork and collard greens at their powwows?" —Journal of American Ethnic History
"Thought-provoking and well-crafted, Southern Heritage on Display is an innovative and important resource for regional studies and scholarship on public display." —Journal of Folklore Research
W. J. Cash's 1941 observation that "there are many Souths and many cultural traditions among them" is certainly validated by this book. Although the Civil War and its "lost cause" tradition continues to serve as a cultural root paradigm in celebrations, both uniting and dividing loyalties, southerners also embrace a panoply of public rituals—parades, cook-offs, kinship homecomings, church assemblies, music spectacles, and material culture exhibitions—that affirm other identities. From the Appalachian uplands to the Mississippi Delta, from Kentucky bluegrass to Carolina piedmont, southerners celebrate in festivals that showcase their diverse cultural backgrounds and their mythic beliefs about themselves.
The ten essays of this cohesive, interdisciplinary collection present event-centered research from various fields of study—anthropology, geography, history, and literature—to establish a rich, complex picture of the stereotypically "Solid South." Topics include the Mardi Gras Indian song cycle as a means of expressing African-American identity in New Orleans; powwow performances and Native American traditions in southeast North Carolina; religious healings in southern Appalachian communities; Mexican Independence Day festivals in central Florida; and, in eastern Tennessee, bonding ceremonies of melungeons who share Indian, Scots Irish, Mediterranean, and African ancestry. Seen together, these public heritage displays reveal a rich "creole" of cultures that have always been a part of southern life and that continue to affirm a flourishing regionalism.
This book will be valuable to students and scholars of cultural anthropology, American studies, and southern history; academic and public libraries; and general readers interested in the American South. It contributes a vibrant, colorful layer of understanding to the continuously emerging picture of complexity in this region historically depicted by simple stereotypes.
Mass festivals were a trademark of twentieth-century authoritarianism, as seen in fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and elsewhere. But nowhere was this phenomenon more prevalent than in the Soviet Union. Despite being a dominant feature of Soviet culture, these public spectacles have been largely overlooked as objects of study by historians.
Originally published in German, Malte Rolf’s highly acclaimed work examines the creation and perpetuation of large-scale celebrations such as May Day, the anniversary of the October Revolution, Harvest Day, and others throughout the Soviet era. He chronicles the overt political agendas, public displays of power, forced participation, and widespread use of these events in the Soviet drive to eradicate existing cultural norms and replace them with new icons of Soviet ideology. Rolf shows how the new Red Calendar became an essential tool in redefining celebrations in the Soviet Union.
Rolf traces the roots of Soviet mass festivals in disparate multiethnic celebrations, protests, and street marches during the late imperial era. He then contrasts these with postrevolutionary events that sought to dissolve ethnic rituals and unify the masses. By the end of the civil war, the Bolsheviks had a well-defined calendar of events and began to dictate the forms of public celebration in accordance with party rhetoric. In distant regions, organizers attempted to follow the models of Moscow and Leningrad, despite budgetary constraints and local resistance. In many outlying areas a hybridization of events developed as local customs merged with party mandates. People often made use of official holidays to adopt their own agendas, yet continued to follow the line of an official Soviet culture. Mass festivals were thus an important tool for Sovietizing the cultural landscape.
After the Second World War, the Soviets exported their festival culture to Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, which resulted in a melding of Soviet guidelines with national cultural forms. Additionally, Rolf compares and contrasts Soviet mass spectacles with mass events in Italy, Germany, and the United States to reveal their similar influence despite divergent political, cultural, and social systems.
In the Soviet Union, mass festivals continued through the time of Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and up until perestroika, despite their fading political impact. Rolf finds that in the end, Soviet celebrations became effectively ingrained in Russia’s post-Soviet national memory, which ironically was the intent of the original festival planners.
Since the Bolivian revolution in 1952, migrants have come to the city of Cochabamba, seeking opportunity and relief from rural poverty. They have settled in barrios on the city’s outskirts only to find that the rights of citizens—basic rights of property and security, especially protection from crime—are not available to them. In this ethnography, Daniel M. Goldstein considers the significance of and similarities between two kinds of spectacles—street festivals and the vigilante lynching of criminals—as they are performed in the Cochabamba barrio of Villa Pagador. By examining folkloric festivals and vigilante violence within the same analytical framework, Goldstein shows how marginalized urban migrants, shut out of the city and neglected by the state, use performance to assert their national belonging and to express their grievances against the inadequacies of the state’s official legal order.
During the period of Goldstein’s fieldwork in Villa Pagador in the mid-1990s, residents attempted to lynch several thieves and attacked the police who tried to intervene. Since that time, there have been hundreds of lynchings in the poor barrios surrounding Cochabamba. Goldstein presents the lynchings of thieves as a form of horrific performance, with elements of critique and political action that echo those of local festivals. He explores the consequences and implications of extralegal violence for human rights and the rule of law in the contemporary Andes. In rich detail, he provides an in-depth look at the development of Villa Pagador and of the larger metropolitan area of Cochabamba, illuminating a contemporary Andean city from both microethnographic and macrohistorical perspectives. Focusing on indigenous peoples’ experiences of urban life and their attempts to manage their sociopolitical status within the broader context of neoliberal capitalism and political decentralization, The Spectacular City highlights the deep connections between performance, law, violence, and the state.
A Travel Guide to Basque America—the first-ever guide to America’s Basque-American communities, their history, culture, and festivals—has been a best-seller since it first appeared in 1998. This new edition lists dozens of new restaurants, Basque cultural clubs and cultural events, and hundreds of Basque-related Internet sites that have appeared since 1998. It also includes new information about recent events in the Basque Country, their impact on Basque-Americans, and new cultural and community efforts to preserve Basque culture in America. This is the essential guide for Basque-Americans seeking links to their ancient culture and its homeland and their counterparts in the U.S., as well as for any traveler interested in exploring one of this country’s most vibrant and fascinating ethnic minorities.
In this modern-day anthropological manifesto, Roger Magazine proposes a radical but commonsense change to the study of people whose understanding of the world differs substantially from our own. Specifically, it argues for a major shift in the prevailing approach to the study of rural highland peoples in Mexico. Using ethnographic material, Roger Magazine builds a convincing case that many of the discipline’s usual topics and approaches distract anthropologists from what is truly important to the people whose lives they study. While Western anthropologists have usually focused on the production of things, such as community, social structure, cultural practices, identities, and material goods—since this is what they see as the appropriate objective of productive action in their own lives—residents of rural highland communities in Mexico (among others) are primarily concerned with what Magazine calls the production of active subjectivity in other persons.
According to Magazine, where Western anthropologists often assume that persons are individuals capable of acting on their own to produce things, rural highland Mexicans see persons as inherently interdependent and in need of others even to act. He utilizes the term “active subjectivity” to denote the fact that what they produce in others is not simply action but also a subjective state or attitude of willingness to perform the action.
The author’s goals are to improve understandings of rural highland Mexicans’ lives and to contribute to a broader disciplinary effort aimed at revealing the cultural specificity or ethnocentricity of our supposedly universally applicable concepts and theories.
This is a study of the St. Peter's Fiesta celebrated annually by the Italian, or better, Sicilian-American community of Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA. The study deals specifically with the fiesta that took place 25–28 June 1970.
The foremost religious festival of ancient Athens—the city dedicated to Athena, goddess of war, fertility, arts, and wisdom—was the Panathenaia. Challenging old assumptions and refuting new theories, Worshipping Athena addresses the many problems of interpretation and understanding that have swirled for years around the Panathenaia. Among the issues discussed is the recent sensational controversy over the Parthenon frieze, perhaps the best known but least understood work of Greek art. For centuries the frieze has been thought to represent the Panathenaia procession, but recently the argument has been advanced that it depicts the sacrifice of the daughters of the Athenian king Erechtheus. Worshipping Athena offers compelling evidence that the frieze does indeed depict the festal procession and also demonstrates that scenes of contemporary ritual were not unique to the Parthenon.
Editor Jenifer Neils and the contributors—eminent classicists, archaeologists, and art historians—explore the role of the Panathenaia in Athenian life and compare it with similar festivals held throughout the ancient Greek world. They discuss such topics as the Panathenaia’s mythical origins, the phenomenon of the festival’s valuable prizes (oil-filled amphoras, rather than the customary laurel wreath), and the architecture, sculpture, and painting related to the festival. Worshipping Athena will provide valuable insights to scholars and students concerned with ancient religion, mythology, art, literature, and gender issues, as well as anyone with a keen interest in the ritual topography of the Athenian Acropolis and the iconography of the Parthenon frieze.