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Impearls: HIC 3.05: The Jumping dance at Pekwan

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Earthdate 2005-11-12

The Jumping dance at Pekwan   by A. L. Kroeber

The Pekwan ceremony is a Jumping dance, partly held in a large house.  For 10 days the formulist — with a number of elderly companions, women as well as men, the tetl — fasts, restrains himself, and spends his time in the sacred house and sweat house.  It appears that this group of persons sings much of the time.  [Footnote:  More on the tetl is to be found in Lucy Thompson (see Bibliography).]  The last night they remain awake in the sweat house.  The next day the people dance by the river, and in the afternoon or evening go up into the sacred house, whose roof and walls have been removed to give a view inside.  They dance first before it, then in the interior, which, however, accommodates only about 10 dancers.  After this they dance at four spots in or by the village, proceeding in upstream order from one to the other.  The competing parties represent Wohtek, Sregon, Murekw, and Pekwan.  This continues for two days, after which the old people again sing in the sweat house one night, beating the walls with sticks.  This is an early autumn ceremony.



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