The Ritual Year 2 ( 2007)
The Ritual Year and Ritual Diversity
This volume, edited by Lina Midholm and Annika Nordström
in association with Maria Teresa Agozzino, contains a selection of the papers given at a conference held in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 7-11 June 2006. Besides the papers listed below, it includes an introduction by Birgitta Skarin Frykman and commentaries by Terry Gunnell, Emily Lyle, George Mifsud-Chircop and Irina Sedakova.
It is distributed by the Institutet för språk och folkminnen (www.sofi.se), Dialekt-, ortnams- och folkminnesarkivet i Göteborg (DAG), Vallgatan 22, SE-411 16 Gothenburg, Sweden. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ethics of Knowledge and the Case of the Ritual Year
In studying the ritual year, there are many matters of ethical concern, including those that affect individual rights to privacy and those that affect the representation of social groups determined on such bases as gender, language or place of origin. This paper explores the particular ethical concern that affects scholar,s which is the ongoing search for truth.. All of us who take the ritual year as our concern may be thought to have a certain obligation to determine the large truth of what the ritual year actually was in prehistory. The paper suggests that we may find that the evidences from folklore force a re-evaluation of the cultural history of Europe.
Keywords: ritual year, ethics, truth, prehistory, cultural history, Europe
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 15-21
Ann Pettersson and Anna Ulfstrand
A Celebration of the National Day in the Name of History and Antiracism
Since the beginning of the twentieth century the national day of Sweden has been celebrated on 6 June under the name of “Svenska flaggans dag” (“Day of the Swedish flag”). Beginning some twenty years ago a number of Local Authorities have organized ceremonies to welcome individuals who have become Swedish citizens during the previous year. Many Swedes are ambivalent about the form of nationalism that is constructed by celebrating a national day and using the Swedish flag as a symbol of the nation, viewing it as improper conservatism and even right wing nationalism. This paper focuses on how this ambivalence is represented in the Welcome Ceremony in the municipality of Botkyrka in the southern part of Greater Stockholm.
Keywords: Sweden, Stockholm, 6 June, national day, nationism, immigrants, symbolism
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 22-8.
L-IMNARJA: A Midsummer Festival in Contemporary Malta
In spite of an exhaustive historical analysis and re-evaluation of Malta’s only midsummer festival, known as L-Imnarja by the late Guzè Cassar-Pullicino, many Maltese still persist in their uncritical acceptance of many false concepts of this ritual. It is the aim of this paper to focus on the amateurish attitude of the Maltese and pseudo-folklorists which has led to gross misinterpretation of the ritual; in recent years this ritual has been teetering on the verge of parody and anti-cultural parameters through mishandling. There are many reasons to forecast that this once rich festival is on the verge of extinction.
Keywords: Malta, L’Imnarja, midsummer festival, ritual, historical analysis
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 31-8
The Midsummer Prayers in the Udmurt Village of Kuzebayevo.
There are two main liminal periods in the Udmurt folk calendar – the period after winter solstice, and the period after summer solstice called invozho dr (time of the heavenly spirits, vozho) or vozho poton tolez’ (month of vozho emerging). Women in the village of Kuzebayevo (Southern Udmurtia) say that during the summer invozho-period it was forbidden to work with wool or hemp; it was also forbidden to mow and pick flowers. In Kuzebaevo this period ended on St Peter’s Day (July 12th) with sacrificing ceremonies in the great prayer cabin (byd’z’ym kuala) and the holy grove (lud). Next day the haymaking time begins. This paper treats the St Peter’s Day’s prayers observed in the Kuzebayevo village in 1980 and 2003.
Keywords: Udmurts, midsummer, prayers, holy grove, taboo, wool, haymaking, spirits
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 39-44
Midsummer Magic: Neo-Pagan Celebrations of the Summer Solstice
In neo-Pagan ritual, Midsummer is one of four “fire festivals” that have their origins in the Celtic structure of the year. The magical element of Fire has associations with spiritual illumination and purification and the lighting of fires plays an important part.. Some groups begin their celebration at dusk on the evening of 20th June and have a ritual that instigates the night vigil. Then they watch the sunrise at dawn on the 21st. Other groups hold a ceremony on the day of the solstice itself. The public rituals have drawn media attention and this has served to bring the focus onto midsummer more than any other festival celebrated by contemporary Pagans in Ireland.
Keywords: Celtic, Ireland, midsummer, neo-pagan, fire festivals, sunrise, spiritual
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 45-50
Searching for the Ritual Identity: The Lithuanian Midsummer Feast
In 2004 the Lithuanian Midsummer Feast, Jonine’s (St John’s Day), was officially proclaimed a public holiday. The organizers of the public Midsummer festivals were faced with a difficult task – to coordinate the publicly declared ethnic tradition with the requirements of a consumer society. The paper treats the evolution of the St John’s Day festival in Lithuania (the reasons for the growing popularity of the Midsummer festivity throughout the whole of Lithuania at the beginning of the twentieth century, the forming of the neo-pagan ritual model of the Midsummer festival in the 1970s and its development as a symbol of the ethno-cultural movement) and also the conflict between traditional and modern values in present-day celebrations of the Midsummer festival.
Keywords: Lithuania, midsummer, St John’s Day, neo-pagan, symbolism, ethno-cultural
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 51-7
Magic at Midsummer: Past and Present Beliefs concerning Love and Divination
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Sweden, the short Midsummer night was considered especially good for divination about love and marriage, and one of the most well-known methods of midsummer divination has survived to our times. In the early night of Midsummer’s Eve you can still meet a young girl who silently picks seven or nine different flowers to put under her pillow at bedtime so that she may see her future husband in her dreams. Of course nowadays this divination is only a game, but love does have a special place in modern folklore and Midsummer divination has interesting parallels in love astrology, love magic and love spells.
Keywords: Sweden, midsummer, magic, divination, flowers, love spells
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 58-64
Early Pagan Midsummer Traditions in North-western Europe: Fact or Fiction?
Although Jacob Grimm briefly observed in the 1830s that fires at Easter derive “straight from fires of our native heathenism” while Midsummer fire came “from the church and she had picked it up in Italy directly from the Roman palilia”, popular opinion often asserts that Vikings, Angles and Saxons had midsummer traditions.This paper presents evidence which shows that the Germanic and Celtic tribes omitted the commemoration of the Summer Solstice. It is argued that peoples who worshipped the sun would wish to avoid midsummer which marks the beginning of the sun’s decline. It seems that midsumer festivities began after people had moved from an “events as time” mentality to a more abstract concept of time.
Keywords: Germanic, Celtic, pagan, time, concepts of time, midsummer festival
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 65-73
Enyovden [Midsummer] Celebrations in Bulgaria
This paper examines various rites and ritual practices associated with the summer folk festival of Enyovden (literally “Enyo’s Day”, Midsummer, June 24) in Bulgaria. It starts with a review of Enyovden beliefs concerning the sun; of ritual cleansing practices and popular beliefs related to water; herb picking and beliefs about plants. The paper analyses in detail the ritual called Enyova Boulya (Enyo’s Bride) or Enyo, and ladvané – a ritual associated with the former and performed by girls of marriageable age as a form of marriage divination. Finally, it examines the ritual practice of mamené or “luring” wheat from other people’s fields performed by witches called brodnitsi or zhitomamnitsi (“wheat-lurers”).
Keywords: Bulgaria, Enyovden, midsummer festival, sun, plants, marriage divination
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 74-9
Rites for Modern Man: New ritual practices in Sweden
The paper offers a new perspective on the use of ritual and tradition in contemporary Sweden. Urbanization, immigration, cultural pluralism, the capitalist market system, changing conditions for women, the influence of mass media, and individualism are all characteristic of the social condition of modernity that has radically changed the context of ritual and transformed traditional patterns. The paper examines how new rituals have emerged that respond to these contemporary societal structures. It presents some new practices, discusses different categories of new ritual mastery and investigates the increasing demand from the participants for efficacy and personal meaning in rituals.
Keywords: Sweden, urbanisation, immigration, cultural pluralism, new rituals, personal
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 83-92
Maria Teresa Agozzino
The Processes of Passage: Distinguishing the Transitionality of Opposition, Inversion and Reversal
Arnold Van Gennep’s tripartite model has been central to ritual analyses for almost ahundred years; separation, transition and incorporation have become foundational tools in every folklorist’s kit bag. However, despite theoretical modifications by anthropologists such as Edmund Leach, Victor Turner, and Terence Turner, and complementary models offered by folklorists Alessandro Falassi and Emily Lyle, the marge stage has intellectually settled in the margins, figuratively inhabiting the betwixt and between status it set out to explicate. A complacency has emerged, resulting in a casual interchangeability between the modes of ritual management that occur within the suspended dimension. This paper examines the limen in the light of the paradox of opposition and of concepts of inversion and reversal and sacred hierarchy.
Keywords: Arnold Van Gennep, rites of passage, transition, opposition, inversion, reversal
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 93-102
Ritualization as Entrepreneurship
In research on rituals the focus in the last decades has turned from traditions and rituals as a continuous and autonomous practice to the production of traditions and rituals as continuous inventive and modeling activities, a matter of cultural construction. The perception of ritualization as continuous inventive and modeling activities raises interesting questions relating to how this is done, who is initiating the activities and what kind of motivation supports the activities. This paper discusses how the process of ritualization can be characterized as activities of entrepreneurship – the way some people and institutions serve as directors or masters of rituals and takes the contemporary growth of the celebration of Halloween in Norway as an example.
Keywords: Norway, Halloween, entrepreneurship, ritualization, cultural construction
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 103-8
Bengt af Klintberg
Hot and Cold Stones: On a Group of Weather Proverbs in Sweden
The cult of saints was forbidden when Sweden went over to Protestantism in the seventeenth century, but the names of certain saints lived on for a long time in calendar traditions. One of these traditions is the saying that Peter Katt (Peter Cat, a misinterpretation of Petrus in Cathedra, February 22) or Mattias (Matthew, February 24) ”throws a hot stone into the water”. The message of the saying is that the ice on the lakes has now started to melt. Another calendar saying tells that some saints, whose memorial days occur at the end of the summer, Olof, Lars and Bartolomeus, “throw a cold stone in the water”, thus putting an end to the bathing season.
Keywords: Sweden, saints’ days, weather proverbs, ice, water, contrasting times
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 111-18
Life Events in the Context of The Ritual Year: Folklore Interpretations
Since ancient times major events in human life (birth, marriage, death) have been symbolically evaluated through the time of their occurrence. Natural timings like the seasons as well as the structurally organized calendar (months, days of weeks, religious feasts and ritual periods) developed a system of metaphors and symbols which added negative/positive interpretation. The “time – human being” correspondence generated many beliefs, sayings and terms about the day of birth. Similarly, days of marriage and death had symbolic meanings. Among the Balkan peoples to die during the Twelve Days means a demonic afterlife, a definite sign of the future vampirizing of the deceased, while death during the first week after Easter means immediate entry into Paradise (East Slavs).
Keywords: ritual year, life cycle, birth, death, Balkan, Slavs, Twelve Days, symbolism
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 119-25
Round-number Birthdays in Sweden
The celebration of round-number birthdays by ordinary people in Sweden has been modelled on customs among the upper classes, where round-number birthdays have been observed since the end of the nineteenth century, although the celebrations were held only by and for men. At the start of the twentieth century, birthday celebrations were reported in detail along with announcements of births, marriages and deaths in local newspapers and this century saw a process of change towards increased individualization and informalization, and towards greater equality between the sexes. This is verified by the huge amount of advertisements in recent daily newspapers, with two diametrically opposed messages: either “Welcome to my open house” or “No callers”. The paper explores the underlying factors.
Keywords: Sweden, birthday celebrations, newspaper announcements, individualization
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 126-34
Funeral Rites of Udmurts as Beginning and Ending of the Summer Year
In the traditional culture of the Udmurts, funeral rites are held during the spring and autumn transitional periods. The ancestors’ spirits “visit” their relatives, which creates a tense and stressful social situation. To counteract these periods of activity, devotions for the deceased were established and turned into traditional organized rituals whose purpose was to show honour and respect for the deceased ancestors. During one day in this period, people bake and prepare food and then go to the cemetery to invite their ancestors to come home and celebrate with their living relatives. Following this celebration, the ancestors are shown back to the cemetery with a warning not to visit the homes of the living relatives until the next funeral period.
Keywords: Udmurts, funerals, cemetery, ancestors, spring, autumn, dead guests, transitions
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 135-41
To Create a Sense of Belonging: Christening Gifts as Materialization of Feelings
Even though some parents emphasize that they do not want “typical” christening presents, like pewter savings-boxes or silver photograph frames, they often find that the guests at christening parties have brought such gifts since the christening does not “feel right” without them. Another common gift is a silver coffee spoon, which is to be followed by others like it at future birthdays. These are often godparents’ gifts and can thus be considered as a material manifestation of a relation that is meant to last. Although the christening of a child is a religious act it is also an event which serves to create a sense of family community and belonging and to build relations.
Keywords: Sweden, christening gifts, silver spoon, godparents, tradition, materialization
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 142-6
Wedding Markets – Seasons for Sale
The long tables are laid with yellow and red leaves and the colour of the cloths matches the season. A wedding in the autumn can use the season’s colours, just like spring, summer or winter weddings.Theme weddings are common today in Sweden, it could be a colour or a historical theme or a theme inspired from nature like water or the forest. If the couple chooses water as theme the colour is of course bluish tones and they will serve fish at the reception and maybe decorate with shells. But it is not only the table and the surroundings that should match but also the clothes, bouquet, invitations cards and maybe the hymns. New wedding rituals are being developed today.
Keywords: Sweden, seasons, colours, weddings, themes, rituals
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 147-54
When Does Defense of Honour and Good Name Become a Ritual?
The paper treats the forms that shape honour and reputation. Study of these forms is a way of investigating the intimate lives, fears, experiences, and concerns of people in the community who are trying to make sense of their world. Taking the example of a small, socially isolated and demographically endangered village in Slovenia the paper shows the dynamics and mechanisms of protecting morality through mutual social control, operating through daily quarrels, gossip, libel and physical violence, which derived from the verbal offences. With these offences, villagers checked the stability of their values, especially honour and good name. Civil and criminal law suits and verdicts show in details how people learn rhetorical or behavioural practices and their socially desired interpretations.
Keywords: honour, reputation, community, village dynamics, gossip, libel, law suits
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 155-65
The Academic Calendar and “Primal Scream” at Harvard
Although the American academic calendar was geared to the need to free up student time for necessary work on the farm, the significant shift to non-farm livelihoods has left American schools and colleges with a highly institutionalized calendric tradition which lacks its historical justification. Into this breach, students have injected their own symbolic meanings, packaged as various sub-cultural activities. A secular calendar has arisen where such organized activities as Orientation Week, Spring Break and Commencement replace Lent, Pentecost and Easter. But students frequently develop festive ways of subverting and imbuing these events with their own meaning. This paper examines the regional and national development of an alternative ritual year within the academic community, especially the “primal scream” at Harvard.
Keywords: USA, academic calendar, secular calendar, ritual year, students, Harvard
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 169-75
Obligations of Reciprocity Supervised in Public: News Reports as a Strategic Means in the Interplay between Superior and Inferior
During the expansion of the Swedish sawmill industry in the latter half of the nineteenth century, it was customary for the sawmill owner to invite his workers and their families to an outdoor party every summer. This event brought two opposite social worlds together and gave rise to a sense of unity, but was also part of a never-ending negotiation about different rights and duties between two socially unequal parties. The whole event can be seen as a gift from the sawmill owner, but it was also a framework within which the owner gave out gifts to his workers. These gifts were later on repaid by return gifts from the workers. Press coverage ensured that the public witnessed these exchanges.
Keywords: Sweden, sawmill industry, reciprocity, mill owners, mill workers, press coverage
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 176-82
Laurent Sébastien Fournier
Traditional Games and The Ritual Year in Provence (France): From Ludodiversity to Cultural Heritage
Through data which have been collected in ethnographic and historic fieldwork in Provence over the last ten years a typology of games according to the age and social groups of the organizers is proposed. The cases of bull-fighting games, folklore dancing and horse-riding are specially dealt with. They enable us to show up the ways in which the game customs have been built up as folklore concepts. The study of the historic changes in these games shows how they have gradually joined the worlds of sports and entertainment to become secularized rituals and events aimed at new audiences. The paper will focus on the stakes and the problems raised when games and sports rituals are acknowledged as cultural heritage. Keywords: France, Provence, games, bull-fighting, dancing, horse-riding, sports, secularized rituals, ethnography
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 183-90
Celebrations of National Holidays in a Norwegian-Swedish Border Perspective
Norwegian independence came about in 1905 when the Union with Sweden was annulled. The principal symbol of national sentiment then became 17 May, the date in 1814 on which Norway adopted her own constitution after having been subject to Danish rule since the late 1300s. After liberation from Nazi occupation in 1945, the Norwegian flag and 17 May were looked upon with even more reverence than before. This study of national celebrations is based on fieldwork in the areas around the southernmost section of the Norwegian-Swedish border from about 1990 up to the present. These years have seen the arrival of increasing numbers of Norwegians in the border province of Bohuslän, which belonged to Norway until 1658.
Keywords: Norway, Sweden, nationalism, flag, 17 May, Bohuslän, border region
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 191-200
Contemporary Perchten Masking in Austria and Bavaria: Creative Authority,Continuity and Change`
The Perchtenlauf (“Perchten-run”) is a centuries-old Austrian and Bavarian masking custom traditionally performed by young men during the Rauhnächte (“rough nights”) of December and January and associated especially with 5 January. The Perchtenlauf enjoys ongoing popularity due to a resourceful and creative mingling of old and new elements (heavy metal music and fireworks alongside hand-carved wooden masks and birch rod switches). Contemporary Perchten, whose performances range from public processions to private house visits, have created a massive and thriving Web culture to express their visions of the tradition and bring it wider recognition. This paper examines the ongoing cultural dialogue between performers and non-performers who seek to define and interpret the tradition, and the interplay of academic and popular influences.
Keywords: Austria, Bavaria, Perchtenlauf, masking, processions, performers
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 201-8
Traditional Costume in Regional France and Germany
Interest in costumes and cultural practices nowadays is not rooted in nostalgia for the “good old times”. This paper analyses and compares costumes and culturalpractices from both sides of the river Rhine – Alsace for France and Württemberg for Germany. The costumes, today part of a regional folkloric iconography, had in former times a specific function. The images of the dress worn in the countryside got fixed in a topos and a type which in the nineteenth century developed a specific dynamism, linked to artistic movements and publishing. Illustrating this for Alsace and Württemberg, we will demonstrate which ideas emerged from costume and which qualities were linked to it and what the repercussions are up to the modern day.
Keywords: France, Germany, Alsace, costume, regional folklore, artistic movements
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 209-13
Lucia of Sweden: The Making of a Goddess in a Secular Society
The celebration of Lucia in Sweden as something of a secular goddess is well known. The transformation of a Sicilian virgin martyr into a divinity of light and prosperity appearing in the darkest period of the year is a modern and popular idea and could be seen as a syncretistic ritual where old lore is mixed with the ideal of beauty queens. The modern tradition of celebrating Lucia dates from the 1920s, when the first blonde beauty queen was chosen in competition with other young girls. A newspaper in Stockholm was the origin of this choice and also created the ritual of Lucia’s procession through the streets followed by singing maidens. This became the prototype of all the following celebrations.
Keywords: Sweden, Lucia, martyr, goddess, secular society, procession
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 217-21
Evy Johanne Håland
From the Ritual Year of the Modern Anastenaria to the Ancient Adonia
The Anastenaria festival is celebrated on 21-23 May in the village of Agia Elene in Greek Macedonia. Its ritual cycle is closely tied to the ecclesiastical calendar of the Orthodox Church, and begins on 26 October with the festival of Agios Demetrios and the traditional beginning of the agricultural year. The key ritual during the festival is when celebrants dance barefoot over red-hot coals to secure their own health and the fertility of their land. It is a festival of renewal celebrated before summer solstice and the grain harvest. A particular theme, which has been compared with ancient sources, is the “Dionysian” element and the “holy dyad” related to the cult of the Great Mother and the personified Bull god.
Keywords: Anastenaria, Orthodox Church, Ancient Greece, fertility, harvest, Dionysian
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 222-39
Pilgrimage to the Sea: European Romani and the Festival of Saint Sara
Every year in late May thousands of Romani gather in the small town of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer in the Camargue district of southern France to participate in the annual saints’ festival, which honors the Saintes Maries who, according to local legend, landed or were shipwrecked on the nearby shore about forty years after Christ’s crucifixion. They were accompanied by their dark-skinned servant, Sara, called Sara-li-kali or Saint Sara, who became the patroness of the European Romani, The enormous number of people who come to observe the festival of Saint Sara, during which her statue is carried into the sea, testifies to the multitude of purposes fulfilled by pilgrimage, from religious observance to trade to sociability and courtship.
Keywords: France, Camargue, pilgrimage, Romani, Saint Sara, legend
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 240-5
Neo-Paganism and Neo-Pagan Rituals in Contemporary Sweden
This paper deals with neo-Paganism in Sweden today and how WicCivil and criminal law suits and verdicts show in details how people learn rhetorical or behavioural practices and their socially desired interpretations, how they develop certain relatively stable convictions about other people and why. cas, Druids and Ásatrúers, the believers in the Old Norse gods, celebrate annual rites. Neo-Paganism has existed in Sweden since the late 1970s (Ásatrú) and early 1980s (Wicca). The believers celebrate the turning points in the natural year. Wiccas celebrate between four and eight festivals. A few Wicca covens even celebrate every full moon. The rituals can be seen as a mixture between old and new beliefs. The Ásatrúers, for example, seek inspiration from ancient festivals and adapt these in accordance with modern occultism, popular beliefs and the spiritual needs of the worshippers. There is always room for improvisation in the rituals and they are characterized by a playful attitude.
Keywords: Sweden, Neo-Paganism, Druids, Asatruers, Wicca, occultism, spirituality
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 246-51
Nancy C. McEntire and Deborah Shebish
Betrothal in the Orkney Islands: The Power of the Stone of Odin
From approximately 2,000 BC until it was broken into pieces in 1814 AD, the Stone of Odin stood on a slight rise of an open, windswept plain on Mainland, the largest of the Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland. Near to it was a semicircular arrangement of larger stones which ranged from 12 to 14 feet in height. Although shorter than these, the Stone of Odin was distinguished by a remarkable perforation near its edge and a man and a woman on either side of the stone took hands through this hole in a betrothal ceremony. The paper explores a number of beliefs surrounding the Stone of Odin, which reportedly had a curative as well as a contractual function.
Keywords: Scotland, Orkney, stone, Odin, betrothal, curing, ritual
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 252-60
Arne Bugge Amundsen
Studying Ritual Changes Today: Some Reflections on the Situation in Modern Norway
In contemporary Norway the ritual year appears as a hypercomplex phenomenon. For instance, the Christian ritual celebrations, such as Christmas or Easter, are confronted with new religious traditions rooted in new minorities of immigrants. This is a severe challenge in public schools and in the media. At the same time the different ritual traditions also inspire each other. There is a growing interest in (new) ritual celebrations as manifestations of specific groups or themes, such as Halloween and Valentine’s Day and it is important to ask: who or what can be identified as acting parts in this development. The paper focuses on both individuals and institutions with more or less explicit strategies for changing ritual traditions or establishing new ones.
Keywords: Norway, Christianity, immigrants, change, Halloween, Valentine’s Day
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 263-70
Five to Twelve – A Manifestation of Intercultural Reconciliation Sprung from a Tragedy: Ethics and Ethnography after Eighteen Years
In the north of Sweden a local ritual has been carried out on 5th December for the past eighteen years. A young woman of eighteen was murdered, stabbed by her boyfriend, a mentally ill, black African boy. The girl had been engaged in serious efforts to ease the integration of immigrants in the movement “Five to Twelve”, i.e. at the last minute. Her father begged the inhabitants of this small town not to blame their new neighbours, and started the annual ritual of gathering in the town square on 5th December at 11.55, five to twelve. People gladly gathered during the first years when the shock was fresh. This paper studies the situation in 2005.
Keywords: Sweden, Reconciliation, ethics, African, immigrant, ritual
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 271-7
Dance, Music and Song in Summertime – In the Students’ View
This paper has two parts. First it is an empirical exposé of what song and dance young people in Sweden are intrested in and secondly it is a theoretical discussion about using students as a resource in folkloristic research. For at about ten years, the Department of Ethnology at Gothenburg University has given a five-week-long summer course about popular and folk song and dance. As a part of the examination the students have to do fieldwork at a music, song or dance event. The short essays and reports from this “mini” field research form the material for this paper.
Keywords: Sweden, Gothenburg, music, song, dance, students, ethnology
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 278-81
The Summer Month of July – A Time to Exercise “The Swedish Sin”?
The Swedes work hard eleven months of the year but when July arrives it appears impossible to get any work done. It is a time when all the wishes and hopes you have had during the year should be fulfilled. Relaxation, bonding with the family, adventures, personal projects. But it is also a time for despair. High expectations brought on by the person or her surroundings, infidelity, escalating alcoholism, loneliness, sorrow for not being able to provide your children with exciting activities and luxurious trips due to economic shortcomings. The paper discuss this particular time, when many Swedes are on holiday, in the light of historical, economical and psychological perspectives.
Keywords: Sweden, July, summer, holiday, hope, despair
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 282-6
Busar: Initiation Traditions in Icelandic Gymnasia
Young people spend much of their lives today within school walls, and the school is a form of social microcosm with its own class system, its own laws and its own traditions which work to underline social cohesion and identity. Schools also have a clear ritual year of their own that was initially designed to fit into the rural ritual year. This paper examines the form, development and function of the initiation rites that take place today in Icelandic gymnasia, and is based on personal experience (as a teacher), fieldwork and interviews with a number of teachers and students past and present.
Keywords: Iceland, school, initiation rites, social cohesion, identity, ritual year
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 287-97
The Popular Nobel Prize Award Banquet: The Distanced Participation of an Interacting TV-Audience
This paper treats a developing annual festivity: the privately arranged Nobel Prize Award “banquets” held at the same time as the real Nobel Prize Award Banquet takes place in Stockholm on the eve of December 10 each year. In the year 1950, it was broadcast on Swedish television for the first time. In the decades that followed the television became part of almost each and every household, and the viewing audience could now follow the festivities as they occurred, almost as if they had been invited themselves. A playful attitude towards the event developed, consisting of banter but also of distanced participation in which people dressed up and staged their own Nobel Prize Award “banquets” in front of their television-sets.
Keywords: Sweden, Nobel prize, television, audience, imitation, play, banquet
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 298-307
The Court of Carnival Fools in a German Village: “Social Control” and Custom Presentation
There are various All-Fools-Guilds (“Narrenzünfte”) and fraternities in the south and southwestern parts of Germany. The solidarity among group members is so strong that they are able to withstand the standardising tendencies of industrial society. The historical background lies in a great variety of customary tradition. In most instances the village’s self-confidence in the south German carnival region does without too much publicity in the exterior world. The carnival custom has preserved specific patterns which were originally integrated in a functional structure but the present-day carnival performances can only be interpreted from a phenomenological point of view. The court of the carnival fools takes place at four-year intervals in the market square, on the streets, and in the court building.
Keywords: Germany, carnival, fools, fraternities, law court, phenomenology
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 308-17
Cultural Aspects of Alcohol: A Critical Discussion of Swedes Relation to, Use of and Notions of Alcohol (not only) in Rituals
The goal of this paper is to put together the results from different academic disciplines and, with inspiration from theories and methods in Cultural Studies, ”make them talk”, in a discussion where both negative and positive aspects of the drug alcohol are included. The paper includes a close reading of some wine reviews and studies the talk about wine on the Internet in general. Which words are used to describe the taste, and how does the language change over time, and in relation to different occasions during the year? And, perhaps most important, what place and meaning has the use of alcohol in rituals such as those connected to Christmas, New Year’s Eve, academic dinners and the world football cup?
Keywords: Sweden, alcohol, drug, wine, internet, rituals
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 318-23
The Roots and Meaning of the Custom The Ride of the Kings in Moravia
The Ride of the Kings takes place during Whitsun week in several villages in Moravia in the South-East of the Czech Republic. Young men in old folk costumes ride through the village. The central personality in the procession is the King, a boy not older then fifteen who rides with his face veiled and eyes bound and with a rose in his mouth so that he cannot speak. The Ride is sometimes associated with a legend of the fifteenth-century Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, but it is certainly much older and probably goes back to the pagan times. It obtained political significance during the German occupation and later when Milan Kundera drew on it in his novel The Joke (1967).
Keywords: Czech Republic, Moravia, Milan Kundera, king, ride, ritual, pagan, Whitsun
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 327-31
Calends in Contemporary Malta
The belief in Rules or Calends is an ancient belief in Malta which has seen some developments throughout the years. Farmers are the people mostly concerned with the prognostication of twelve days; and with reason, since they come in continuous contact with the weather which influences their crops.In Malta, Rules start on December 13th and continue until the 24th (Christmas Eve). This paper studies the isomorphism of the Maltese folk calendar with the ritual year in contemporary Malta. Since contemporary Maltese are less dominated by the forces of nature and superstitious belief than by economic forces, the interests of tourism and the need to underline local identity, the nature of the rituals has naturally changed radically.
Keywords: Malta, twelve days, prognostication, rituals, tourism, identity
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 332-9
Anders Jarlert and Birgitta Skarin Frykman
The St. Lars’ Feast: A local Gothenburg example of historical oblivion
The St Lars’ feast was celebrated in the town of Nya Lödöse, one of the predecessors of present-day Gothenburg, at least since 1474 and, when the city of Gothenburg was founded in 1621, the Larsmas Fair was transfered to it. Gothenburg Cathedral was consecrated in 1633 on August 10th, the nameday of Lars, which strengthened the importance of the St Lars’ feast. Since the St Lars’ connection is probably the most long-lived popular tradition in Gothenburg, it is surprising that it has fallen into practically complete oblivion, both academically and in popular memory. The Larsmas Fair in Gothenburg is seen as a case study, which can problematize and elucidate how and why society forgets and selects its immaterial cultural heritage.
Keywords: Sweden, Gothenburg, St Lars, Larsmas Fair, memory, historical oblivion
The Ritual Year 2 (2007), 340-5