Accepted Paper:

Spreading Out: Fiestas Becoming Transnational  


Beate Engelbrecht (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)

Paper short abstract:

A Mexican village organises feasts involving the whole village making it visible for outsiders. Migrants participate in the village and transfer feasts to the US. There they have to organise them differently. The exchange of money, goods, and videos transforms the fiestas into transnational events.

Paper long abstract:

The migrant village of Patamban celebrates various kinds of fiestas. Three feasts are of special importance for the village: the Holy Week, and fiestas for Jesus Nazareno and Cristo Rey. These feasts comprise the whole village: the people and the location. Some permanent places, the church, stationary effigies, and way shrines, are visited always. Other ritual places are changing every year. Each feast implies processions taking different routes with different adornments and different actors. They are gaining importance continuously attracting migrants and outsiders alike. The village is putting itself on the regional but also transnational map.

The migrants are an important group of participants. They might be feast holders, support their parents, or just use the feasts to visit the village. Not all migrants can return home, however they participate in the feast: they send money or look at the fiesta videos. Recently, the migrants started to have their own fiestas. They ordered a copy of Jesus Nazareno and started to hold his feast. As there are no stationary places, the migrants are turning the sites available into theirs using the traditional adornments. As the participants are living apart, the rituals have to be organised accordingly. Thus the places, time allocation, and participants differ substantially from the home village. The home village is taking part too, sending items and looking at the fiesta videos too. Patamban's feasts are becoming transnational - even more so as the videos are uploaded, exchanged and commented in the Internet.

Panel W016
Space, place and religious rituals in the context of migration (EN, FR)