Cover image for Carnival and other Christian festivals : folk theology and folk performance
Title:
Carnival and other Christian festivals : folk theology and folk performance
Author:
Harris, Max, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Austin, TX : University of Texas Press, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
282 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780292705524

9780292701915
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library BV43 .H37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

With a riotous mix of saints and devils, street theater and dancing, and music and fireworks, Christian festivals are some of the most lively and colorful spectacles that occur in Spain and its former European and American possessions. That these folk celebrations, with roots reaching back to medieval times, remain vibrant in the high-tech culture of the twenty-first century strongly suggests that they also provide an indispensable vehicle for expressing hopes, fears, and desires that people can articulate in no other way. In this book, Max Harris explores and develops principles for understanding the folk theology underlying patronal saints' day festivals, feasts of Corpus Christi, and Carnivals through a series of vivid, first-hand accounts of these festivities throughout Spain and in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad, Bolivia, and Belgium. Paying close attention to the signs encoded in folk performances, he finds in these festivals a folk theology of social justice that—however obscured by official rhetoric, by distracting theories of archaic origin, or by the performers' own need to mask their resistance to authority—is often in articulate and complex dialogue with the power structures that surround it. This discovery sheds important new light on the meanings of religious festivals celebrated from Belgium to Peru and on the sophisticated theatrical performances they embody.


Summary

With a riotous mix of saints and devils, street theater and dancing, and music and fireworks, Christian festivals are some of the most lively and colorful spectacles that occur in Spain and its former European and American possessions. That these folk celebrations, with roots reaching back to medieval times, remain vibrant in the high-tech culture of the twenty-first century strongly suggests that they also provide an indispensable vehicle for expressing hopes, fears, and desires that people can articulate in no other way.

In this book, Max Harris explores and develops principles for understanding the folk theology underlying patronal saints' day festivals, feasts of Corpus Christi, and Carnivals through a series of vivid, first-hand accounts of these festivities throughout Spain and in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad, Bolivia, and Belgium. Paying close attention to the signs encoded in folk performances, he finds in these festivals a folk theology of social justice that--however obscured by official rhetoric, by distracting theories of archaic origin, or by the performers' own need to mask their resistance to authority--is often in articulate and complex dialogue with the power structures that surround it. This discovery sheds important new light on the meanings of religious festivals celebrated from Belgium to Peru and on the sophisticated theatrical performances they embody.


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Part One Days of Saints and Virgins
1 Demons and Dragons (Catalonia)
2 Flowers for Saint Tony (Aragon)
3 El Mas Chiquito de To' Los Santos (Puerto Rico)
4 The Cross-Dressed Virgin on a Tightrope (Mexico)
5 A Polka for the Sun and Santiago (Mexico)
Part Two Corpus Christi
6 Dancing under Friendly Fire (Catalonia)
7 A Confraternity of Jews (Castile-La Mancha)
8 Saint Sebastian and the Blue-eyed Blacks (Peru)
Part Three Carnivals
9 A Scattering of Ants (Galicia)
10 The Bandit and the Fat Man (Navarre)
11 Safe for the Bourgeoisie (Belgium)
12 Devils and Decorum (Trinidad)
13 The Sins of the Carnival Virgin (Bolivia)
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments
Part One Days of Saints and Virgins
1 Demons and Dragons (Catalonia)
2 Flowers for Saint Tony (Aragon)
3 El Mas Chiquito de To' Los Santos (Puerto Rico)
4 The Cross-Dressed Virgin on a Tightrope (Mexico)
5 A Polka for the Sun and Santiago (Mexico)
Part Two Corpus Christi
6 Dancing under Friendly Fire (Catalonia)
7 A Confraternity of Jews (Castile-La Mancha)
8 Saint Sebastian and the Blue-eyed Blacks (Peru)
Part Three Carnivals
9 A Scattering of Ants (Galicia)
10 The Bandit and the Fat Man (Navarre)
11 Safe for the Bourgeoisie (Belgium)
12 Devils and Decorum (Trinidad)
13 The Sins of the Carnival Virgin (Bolivia)
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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