Ceremonia de purificación de los jóvenes varones del pueblo lango del centro-norte de Uganda

Inscrito en 2014 (9.COM) en la Lista del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial que requiere medidas urgentes de salvaguardia

© Musafiri Suwed, 2013

La ceremonia de purificación de los jóvenes varones, practicada por el pueblo lango que vive en la parte septentrional del centro de Uganda, es un rito para curar a muchachos que han perdido supuestamente su masculinidad. La madre y el hijo permanecen enclaustrados en su hogar por espacio de tres días y se alimentan con gachas de mijo sin azúcar. Durante toda la ceremonia se trata al muchacho como si fuera un recién nacido. Al cabo del tercer día, la madre y el hijo salen del hogar y se sientan a la puerta del mismo, acompañados por un primo paterno. Entonces se cortan los cabellos del muchacho y, mezclándolos con corteza de higuera y manteca de karité, se trenzan en forma cordones que se atan al cuello, las muñecas y la cintura del joven varón. Con los cordones sobrantes se hace una bola que se lanza contra la madre, el primo paterno y el muchacho. Acto seguido se unta a estas tres personas con manteca de karité y se les sirve una comida compuesta por una pasta de chícharos, un pan de mijo y una bebida fabricada con mijo y levadura. En ese momento comienzan las manifestaciones de júbilo con vítores, cantos y danzas que confirman que el joven varón ha recobrado su masculinidad. Esta ceremonia propicia la reconciliación y restableces el estatus social del muchacho. La limitación de esta práctica tradicional pone en peligro su viabilidad. Muchos de sus depositarios son personas de edad avanzada y la práctica en sí misma se suele mantener secreta por temor a incurrir en excomulgación.

Community members of Ngamii village in Dokolo District holding a dialogue meeting in preparation of to choose the boy child for the performance the boy child cleansing ceremony.
The boy child supposed to undergo the cleansing ceremony is being held up and presented to the community members before taken into the house to start the mandatory 3 days ceremony.
Community members join in the cultural dance performed shortely after the boy child is taken into the house to undergo the male child cleansing ceremony.
The male child and his mother are brought out of the house covered with a winnower and made to sit in front of the house after the completion of the 3rd day of the ceremony. They are joined by the cousin of the boy's father to perform the last rituals of the cleansing ceremony.
The mother-in-law and the elderly community members take part in the making of rope like strands from the chewed bark of a ficus tree. The soft bark is woven together in a rope like object with the hair of the child and mixed with shear butter oil.
Ropes made out of ficus bark and the child hair is tied by the grandmother on to the child's neck, on the wrist and one with a knot around the waist. The mother of the child has also a rope tied around the neck.
Rope like strands not mixed in shear butter are rolled into a ball like object and five family members are chosen to ask for blessings by throwing the ball to the child, mother and the cousin.
Food is prepared in a traditional way at the end of the ceremony to be served to the three key parties - the male child, the mother and the cousine. Community members too are served.
The male child, the mother and the cousin and smeared with shear butter by the mother-in-law together with the elderly members of the family.
The boy child, the mother and the cousin take part in the preparation of the meal that is after being smeared with shear butter. The meal is served to all but the cousin eats food on the mingling sticks behind the house and then throws the sticks over the house.
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