Tuesday, March 11, 2008

mourning dress

As Mexico’s Copper Canyon is Tarahumara territory, when a book on the Tarahumara crossed the desk at work I brought it home. We’re going to miss the Easter celebrations – the highlight of the Tarahumara event calendar – but all the guidebooks say there will be Tarahumara craftspeople offering baskets and blankets for sale at rail stops. Why not read a bit about them?

In a description of funerary rites the author says there are differences depending on the gender of the deceased. You should know that the best way to get around the canyons is on foot; the Tarahumara are famed for their tireless running (& races typically bring hot betting action).

“Three weeks after the death of [a] man, a large fiesta is given. … If the deceased had been a runner, there might also be a ceremonial race held in his honor. If the deceased had been a woman who had also been a runner, the ceremonial race will involve men dressed as women. In some places, men wear women’s clothing as a regular part of the observances at a woman’s death fiesta.”

Men cross-dress as a way to honor women. There’s a cultural difference, eh?

source: Tarahumara: where night is the day of the moon by Bernard L. Fontana

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