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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

Layout of the objects in the ritual deposit during the food and drink offering: t’úut (ritual tortilla with pulverized squash seeds), mingled chunks of deer, peccary, and rooster meat, and vino and sajkab (ritual beverages). In addition, 13 candles (seven burning and six unburned) and incense (pom). Design: María Fernanda Nemer and Dídac Santos-Fita (DSF); Source: DSF’s fieldwork, 2011
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Fig3: Layout of the objects in the ritual deposit during the food and drink offering: t’úut (ritual tortilla with pulverized squash seeds), mingled chunks of deer, peccary, and rooster meat, and vino and sajkab (ritual beverages). In addition, 13 candles (seven burning and six unburned) and incense (pom). Design: María Fernanda Nemer and Dídac Santos-Fita (DSF); Source: DSF’s fieldwork, 2011

Mentions: All the material objects present in the ritual deposit of the Loojil Ts’oon, including those which are not part of the offering, are intentionally placed in defined numbers and quantity –“7”, “9”, and “13”, of capital importance within pre-Hispanic cosmovision; and “10”, understood as a half of “20” [35, 65, 66]–, as well as numerical series and a specific disposition by groups in both the horizontal and vertical planes (Fig. 3). Furthermore, this ritual deposit is a figurative recreation of the Mayan world and universe in its quadrilateral shape and having human beings within (for a more detailed description see Santos-Fita [38]; and also Villa Rojas [31], Sosa [67], Gabriel [68–70]).Fig. 3


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)

Layout of the objects in the ritual deposit during the food and drink offering: t’úut (ritual tortilla with pulverized squash seeds), mingled chunks of deer, peccary, and rooster meat, and vino and sajkab (ritual beverages). In addition, 13 candles (seven burning and six unburned) and incense (pom). Design: María Fernanda Nemer and Dídac Santos-Fita (DSF); Source: DSF’s fieldwork, 2011
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Fig3: Layout of the objects in the ritual deposit during the food and drink offering: t’úut (ritual tortilla with pulverized squash seeds), mingled chunks of deer, peccary, and rooster meat, and vino and sajkab (ritual beverages). In addition, 13 candles (seven burning and six unburned) and incense (pom). Design: María Fernanda Nemer and Dídac Santos-Fita (DSF); Source: DSF’s fieldwork, 2011
Mentions: All the material objects present in the ritual deposit of the Loojil Ts’oon, including those which are not part of the offering, are intentionally placed in defined numbers and quantity –“7”, “9”, and “13”, of capital importance within pre-Hispanic cosmovision; and “10”, understood as a half of “20” [35, 65, 66]–, as well as numerical series and a specific disposition by groups in both the horizontal and vertical planes (Fig. 3). Furthermore, this ritual deposit is a figurative recreation of the Mayan world and universe in its quadrilateral shape and having human beings within (for a more detailed description see Santos-Fita [38]; and also Villa Rojas [31], Sosa [67], Gabriel [68–70]).Fig. 3

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