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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 October 2020

Starting Life

Starting Life

(p.159) 8 Starting Life
The Dancing Dead

Walter E. A. van Beek

Oxford University Press

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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