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Rank: [O]ther initiands are going through the… | re/touch: an encyclopædia of touch and culture



[O]ther initiands are going through the tunnel, the sacrifice, and the sprinkling, one by one. As each finishes he goes to the rest house of his ward where he remains until he dresses for the masquerade the next day. He is fed with his hands above his head by his helpers, sitting or standing, or he is temporarily untied so that he can eat. Some boys manage to sleep a bit, but it is difficult to do so as it is forbidden for them to touch the ground with their hands or arms. However, they can lie on mats if they are careful, and most of them do. The Afikpo say that if they should touch the ground nothing will really happen to them, that it is merely a hardship; they do not phrase the restriction in spiritual terms.

  • Source: Ottenberg, Simon. Boyhood rituals in an African society: an interpretation. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1989.
  • Culture: Igbo
  • Location: Africa