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The Dancing DeadRitual and Religion among the Kapsiki/Higi of North Cameroon and Northeastern Nigeria$
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Walter E. A. van Beek

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199858149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858149.001.0001

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Starting Life

Starting Life

Chapter:
(p.159) 8 Starting Life
Source:
The Dancing Dead
Author(s):

Walter E. A. van Beek

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858149.003.0008

The first chapter of the rites of belonging describes the rituals surrounding birth. Starting with the presentation of twins, the text details the symbolic acts that define identity, including the local naming system based on birth order. Special births demand special rituals; twins are a prime case and generate large feasts in Kapsiki/Higi culture, but so do other varieties of birth. A section on the symbols that define personhood then tries to “read” the symbols of Kapsiki twin rituals, arguing that twins in Kapsiki are not children at all, but people in a perpetual state of liminality, forever betwixt and between, thus ending this chapter on the slow dawn of Kapsiki personal identity.

Keywords:   birth, naming, identity, twins, symbols, liminality

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