Foto: Beto Ricardo, 2002

Kalapalo

  • Other names
  • Where they are How many

    MT669 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
  • Linguistic family
    Karib

Intra and inter-community rituals

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The Kalapalo classify their public rituals into two general types: egitsu (or, as it is more widely known, kwarup, a term from the neighboring Kamaiura and described in page Parque Indígena do Xingu, only in Portuguese version) and undufe. The word egitsu refers to events that involve the participating of guests from other Upper Xingu settlements. Included in this category are the egitsu proper, a ritual that commemorates deceased hereditary leaders (aneta~u); the ipoñe, or boys’ ear-piercing ritual; the women’s Yamurikmalu (or Yamurikumã in the Kamayura language) and men’s kagutu rituals; the katugakugu (referring to an object made of latex from a small rubber tree), which involves a ritual ball game; tawkaga, involving instruments of the same name; and, finally, ifagaka (more commonly known by the Kamayura term yawari), the spear-throwing ceremony.

All these events entail the repeated performance of music in the host community over a considerable period of time prior to the performance in which visitors participate. In addition, because egitsu rituals include athletic competition between guests and hosts, for several months prior to the appearance of the guests, the hosts practice their skills, just as the guests themselves are doing in their own settlements. In general, wrestling seems to be a way of temporarily diminishing, in a symbolic form, the social distance between people of different villages.

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Among the rituals called undufe are performances that involve only the members of a particular settlement. These include the Kana undufegï, “Fishes’ undufe”; Eke undufegï, “Snakes’ undufe”; Fugey oto, “Arrow master ritual”; Agë, the manioc ritual held at the height of the harvest when the Pleiades become visible; Afugagï and others that involve the manufacture and use of masks associated with the itseke, the powerful beings who are the “masters” of the music; Kafugukuegï, “Howler monkey ritual”; Afasa, “Forest cannibal ritual”; Zhakwikatu, Kwambï, and Piju, “Powerful aquatic beings”; and Atugua, “Whirlwind undufe”.