Mobile ritual space: Collective ritual dance and temporary appropriation of space in a shamanic local society of Eastern Nepal

Wettstein, Marion (12 October 2015). Mobile ritual space: Collective ritual dance and temporary appropriation of space in a shamanic local society of Eastern Nepal (Unpublished). In: ISARS Conference “Sacred Landscapes and Conflict Transformation: History, Space, Place and Power in Shamanism”. Delphi, Griechenland. 09.-13.10.2015.

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The bhume or sakela ritual among the Rai of Eastern Nepal is a seasonal agricultural festival, in which the deities of the land are given offerings by a local shaman and his or her assistants at specially designated places. For those participants without ritual function, the social aspect of the ritual is expressed and embodied in a circular collective dance, which in former times was only performed around the spots of worship themselves. Today, however, a dance circle can be opened at any place, and can be transformed into a ritual space on the spot by sticking a symbolic axis mundi into its center and placing a small offering. In this way, the ritual space appropriated though the collective dance circle is a mobile one in two ways: It is a space in motion through the movements of the dancers themselves, and it can theoretically be opened in any thinkable locality. This is applied in practice among the Rai in many diaspora contexts for the bhume festival worldwide, but also to transfer the ritual space out of its original context and re-implement it for instance in dance competitions or on stage outside the ritual season. Based on the example of the sakela dance, and with references to other rituals of the Rai, this paper discusses the concept of mobile ritual space in the shamanic societies of Eastern Nepal and its implications for their globalized diasporas, and in the contemporary Rai society within a transforming Nepali state.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute for the Science of Religion
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Wettstein, Marion

Subjects:

200 Religion
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

Language:

English

Submitter:

Marion von Stockhausen-Wettstein

Date Deposited:

27 Jul 2017 16:50

Last Modified:

12 Dec 2017 09:49

Related URLs:

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/96725

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