ERIC Number: ED204051
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr-24
Reference Count: 0
Masking Reality: An Indian View of Inter-Ethnic Relations.
Provost, Paul Jean
Carnival, which falls within the category of events described by Edward Norbeck as rites of reversal, functions as a catharsis for modern Indian groups of northern Veracruz; it is a socially non-threatening mechanism whereby an oppressed minority identifies and deals with inter-ethnic group discrimination and oppression. Subcultures of the area are the economically and politically dominant Mestizo cattle ranchers and at least five different groups of Indian peasant farmers. The Indians of rural Mexico are discriminated against politically, economically, educationally, and socially. However, during Carnival (which combines pre-Hispanic Indian ritual with European pre-Lenten celebration) Mestizos are made ridiculous and laughable when portrayed as Mecos, masked and costumed Indian male performers who play pranks as they romp through Indian villages. The masks, which symbolically represent the ambivalent powers of the Indian universe, also represent urban Mestizo culture, showing exaggerations of valued Mestizo facial characteristics. The remainder of the disguise highlights this burlesque by accentuating physical characteristics. The most prominent feature of both male and female Meco costumes, always including Western shoes, is a combination of Western-style clothing arranged in the most outrageous fashion the performer can imagine. Carnival represents not only psychological revenge, but provides an Indian view of inter-ethnic relations. (CM)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Mestizos (People); Mexico (Huasteca); Seasonal Celebrations
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Interdisciplinary Ethnic Studies (9th, Las Cruces, NM, April 24, 1981).