Tortillas for the Gods: A Symbolic Analysis of Zinacanteco Rituals

TitleTortillas for the Gods: A Symbolic Analysis of Zinacanteco Rituals
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1976
AuthorsVogt, Evon Zartman
Number of Pages234
PublisherHarvard University Press

For nearly 20 years, the author observed rituals in Zinacanteco society (Chiapas, Mexico). Those rituals organize life into a four stage cycle. Prestige (as determined by age and wealth) is also a factor. Specific rituals are only performed by higher-status individuals, such as elderly or wealthy men. Rituals are also often designed to alleviate the tensions between different classes as well as conflicting beliefs, such as tensions between Mayan and Christian traditions. Rituals dominate every aspect of the Zinacanteco society and are taken very seriously. Everything from the types of plants used in Rituals of Affliction (curing, medicinal rituals) to the color of the chickens that are sacrificed at the corners of a new house when it is built and dedicated are rigidly specified and controlled by tradition.