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Symbolism and ritual practices related to hunting in Maya communities from central Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Santos-Fita D, Naranjo EJ, Estrada EI, Mariaca R, Bello E - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2015)

Bottom Line: The Loojil Ts'oon does not only represent the continuity and regeneration of animals, that is, fauna as a resource, but also of the whole hunting cycle.The hunter does so to maintain and recreate order and equilibrium in one's relationship with nature as a whole, with the rest of one's social group, and with oneself.Thus, hunting transcends the exclusively material dimension of a subsistence activity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias (CRIM), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Av. Universidad s/n, Circuito 2, Chimalpa, Campus Morelos de la UNAM, CP 62210, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México. dsantofi@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT

Background: Some Mayan peasant-hunters across the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico still carry out a hunting ritual -Loojil Ts'oon, Loj Ts'oon or Carbine Ceremony- in which they renew the divine permission for hunting in order to continue deserving the gift of prey after a period of hunt. Thus they are granted access to game by the gods and the Lords of the Animals, particularly the spirit/evil-wind call. This paper focuses on the acts within the Loojil Ts'oon -which is performed in the X-Pichil community and surrounding area- that make it unique among the hunting rituals performed in other parts of the Peninsula.

Methods: The Loojil Ts'oon hunting ritual was observed and registered in audiovisual format in two different occasions in X-Pichil (Friday 04/29/2011 and Friday 07/29/2011). Afterwards, we delivered digital videodisks (DVD) to hunters and their families and to the j-men (the magic-medic-ritual specialist) who participated in these ceremonies. This delivery produced confidence among participants to talk more openly and in-depth about the Loojil Ts'oon, revealing symbolic, psychological, and material details previously unknown to outsiders. Qualitative information was obtained through the ethnographic method using techniques such as participant observation and guided tours. Semi-structured interviews were carried out to obtain complementary information.

Results and discussion: On one hand, we describe the preparation and cleansing of the "Sip soup", as well as its parading and distribution -delivery to the spirit/evil-wind Sip- on the streets of the community (highlingting the role of the rooster as a counter-gift). On the other hand, the cleansing of the jaws (of deer: Odocoileus virginianus, Mazama spp.; and peccaries: Tayassuidae) and their return to the Lords of Animals in the hills so that they may give these animals new life.

Conclusions: By performing the Loojil Ts'oon, the act of killing an animal is legitimized. The kill transforms into an exchange to perpetuate life, in which gods and Lords of animals grant the hunter the solicited new game if he has completed his ritual duties and has not broken the prescribed hunting rules. The Loojil Ts'oon does not only represent the continuity and regeneration of animals, that is, fauna as a resource, but also of the whole hunting cycle. The hunter does so to maintain and recreate order and equilibrium in one's relationship with nature as a whole, with the rest of one's social group, and with oneself. Thus, hunting transcends the exclusively material dimension of a subsistence activity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Location of X-Pichil and neighboring communities where the hunting ritual Loojil Ts’oon - Carbine Ceremony is performed in central Quintana Roo state, Mexico. Cartographic design by David Uribe Villavicencio. Map taken from Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, Mexico (2006)
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Fig1: Location of X-Pichil and neighboring communities where the hunting ritual Loojil Ts’oon - Carbine Ceremony is performed in central Quintana Roo state, Mexico. Cartographic design by David Uribe Villavicencio. Map taken from Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, Mexico (2006)

Mentions: The Loojil Ts’oon hunting ritual seems to be limited to a handful of Mayan communities in central Quintana Roo (a state located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico), among which X-Pichil (pop. of about 2300; 40 km from the municipality’s administration center in Felipe Carrillo Puerto) stands out. Its inhabitants affirm that no hunter skips this Ceremony. The Ceremony is also celebrated in X-Yatil, Hobompich, Kampokolché, Filomeno Mata, Dzulá, Yoactún, Laguna Kaná, and Yodznot Nuevo (Fig. 1). However, according to people’s comments, hunters in these communities do not always abide by the obligation of performing the Ceremony.Fig. 1


Symbolism and ritual practices related to hunting in Maya communities from central Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Santos-Fita D, Naranjo EJ, Estrada EI, Mariaca R, Bello E - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2015)

Location of X-Pichil and neighboring communities where the hunting ritual Loojil Ts’oon - Carbine Ceremony is performed in central Quintana Roo state, Mexico. Cartographic design by David Uribe Villavicencio. Map taken from Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, Mexico (2006)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4588688&req=5

Fig1: Location of X-Pichil and neighboring communities where the hunting ritual Loojil Ts’oon - Carbine Ceremony is performed in central Quintana Roo state, Mexico. Cartographic design by David Uribe Villavicencio. Map taken from Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, Mexico (2006)
Mentions: The Loojil Ts’oon hunting ritual seems to be limited to a handful of Mayan communities in central Quintana Roo (a state located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico), among which X-Pichil (pop. of about 2300; 40 km from the municipality’s administration center in Felipe Carrillo Puerto) stands out. Its inhabitants affirm that no hunter skips this Ceremony. The Ceremony is also celebrated in X-Yatil, Hobompich, Kampokolché, Filomeno Mata, Dzulá, Yoactún, Laguna Kaná, and Yodznot Nuevo (Fig. 1). However, according to people’s comments, hunters in these communities do not always abide by the obligation of performing the Ceremony.Fig. 1

Bottom Line: The Loojil Ts'oon does not only represent the continuity and regeneration of animals, that is, fauna as a resource, but also of the whole hunting cycle.The hunter does so to maintain and recreate order and equilibrium in one's relationship with nature as a whole, with the rest of one's social group, and with oneself.Thus, hunting transcends the exclusively material dimension of a subsistence activity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias (CRIM), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Av. Universidad s/n, Circuito 2, Chimalpa, Campus Morelos de la UNAM, CP 62210, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México. dsantofi@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT

Background: Some Mayan peasant-hunters across the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico still carry out a hunting ritual -Loojil Ts'oon, Loj Ts'oon or Carbine Ceremony- in which they renew the divine permission for hunting in order to continue deserving the gift of prey after a period of hunt. Thus they are granted access to game by the gods and the Lords of the Animals, particularly the spirit/evil-wind call. This paper focuses on the acts within the Loojil Ts'oon -which is performed in the X-Pichil community and surrounding area- that make it unique among the hunting rituals performed in other parts of the Peninsula.

Methods: The Loojil Ts'oon hunting ritual was observed and registered in audiovisual format in two different occasions in X-Pichil (Friday 04/29/2011 and Friday 07/29/2011). Afterwards, we delivered digital videodisks (DVD) to hunters and their families and to the j-men (the magic-medic-ritual specialist) who participated in these ceremonies. This delivery produced confidence among participants to talk more openly and in-depth about the Loojil Ts'oon, revealing symbolic, psychological, and material details previously unknown to outsiders. Qualitative information was obtained through the ethnographic method using techniques such as participant observation and guided tours. Semi-structured interviews were carried out to obtain complementary information.

Results and discussion: On one hand, we describe the preparation and cleansing of the "Sip soup", as well as its parading and distribution -delivery to the spirit/evil-wind Sip- on the streets of the community (highlingting the role of the rooster as a counter-gift). On the other hand, the cleansing of the jaws (of deer: Odocoileus virginianus, Mazama spp.; and peccaries: Tayassuidae) and their return to the Lords of Animals in the hills so that they may give these animals new life.

Conclusions: By performing the Loojil Ts'oon, the act of killing an animal is legitimized. The kill transforms into an exchange to perpetuate life, in which gods and Lords of animals grant the hunter the solicited new game if he has completed his ritual duties and has not broken the prescribed hunting rules. The Loojil Ts'oon does not only represent the continuity and regeneration of animals, that is, fauna as a resource, but also of the whole hunting cycle. The hunter does so to maintain and recreate order and equilibrium in one's relationship with nature as a whole, with the rest of one's social group, and with oneself. Thus, hunting transcends the exclusively material dimension of a subsistence activity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus