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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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The Song of the Bride

The Song of the Bride

(p.182) 9 The Song of the Bride
The Dancing Dead

Walter E. A. van Beek

Oxford University Press

Marriage rituals are very elaborate in Kapsiki/Higi culture, with a major distinction between the first marriage of a girl and secondary marriages. The text opens with a description of a bridal skirt that forms a central symbol in marriage proceedings. The ritualized transfer of the bride to her husband’s home forms a major focus in the village feasts. The bride is followed on her journey to the new home and in the many festivities that surround her entry, involving a complex network of new relatives. Weddings are one type of rituals that have changed dramatically, and the evolution of wedding feasts is followed over four decades, from a modest and almost private gift giving to a spectacular rite of conspicuous giving involving a host of people. The chapter derives its title from the second part of the wedding, when all brides of the village engage in a song contest at a sacred mountain, as part of their and the boys’ initiation. In closing, the apron of iron chains from the start offers a venue in one major part of bridal symbolism, iron.

Keywords:   skirt, marriage, wedding, song, initiation, iron

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