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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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Rain and the Cycle of Ritual

Rain and the Cycle of Ritual

(p.128) 7 Rain and the Cycle of Ritual
The Dancing Dead

Walter E. A. van Beek

Oxford University Press

This last chapter on the rites of dwelling starts with the “initiation of a granary,” as a ritual response to ecological risks. Rain is number one in this dry part of Africa, and the text delves into opposing ritual ways of procuring rain, soliciting it at the tomb of the village founder, or paying a rain maker for his services. During the rainy season, the main threat is the epidemic, and the ritual that addresses this threat ties the Kapsiki into the larger cultural framework of the Mandara area. This latter aspect is also essential in the response on locust plagues, where the Kapsiki/Higi rely on a distant ritual authority. The ritual against locusts is described in some detail, highlighted with a personal story of the visit to this ritual center. The chapter closes with the rituals surrounding agriculture, mainly harvest but also the first hunt of the season, offering some insights in how people cope with risks and insecurity inside a ritual time frame.

Keywords:   risk, insecurity, rain, epidemic, locusts, harvest ritual, ritual time

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