Foto: Harold Schultz, década de 1950


  • Other names
  • Where they are How many

    MT540 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
  • Linguistic family

Apapaatai festivals


In order to obtain full therapeutic efficacy in the case of very serious cases, it is imperative to organize a festival for the apapaatai who caused harm to the patient. In general, these festivals demand the fabrication of various ritual objects, which may comprise manioc bread spatulas (figure 01), masks (figure 02), flutes, clarinets, manioc diggers, pestles, baskets, pans, arrows, etc.

Even after being rescued, the soul (paapitsi) remains at risk. It is only fully safe after performing the specific festival for the apapaatai who caused the illness, which results in the establishment of a new alliance between a human entity and an apapaatai.

The apapaatai festivals can be compared to a type of aesthetic therapy, the cure being the restoration of beauty. The participation of the afflicted person in the festival is not necessary for the cure, neither does he or she need specific decoration or artistic attention to be cured. But the sick person must be the festival sponsor. The apapaatai are said to have a particular avidness for food and entertainment, such that they repay the person they attacked and who sponsored the festival by protecting them from probable attacks from other apapaatai. In this way, the sick person emerges strengthened, not only in terms of his or her relations with the ‘supernatural,’ but above all because in becoming owner of an apapaatai festival he or she begins to participate in a network of prestations and counter-prestations of ritual services in the village.

Ex-victims must subsequently offer a festival to their protector apapaatai according to a larger cycle whose periodicity can vary from some months to several years. They will therefore have to look after the flutes or masks of the apapaatai which now belong to them and which will remain in their house or in the house of flutes (kuwakuho). The flutes are preserved with extreme care, but the masks are kept until they deteriorate or until a suitable moment for burning them.