Feast and Ritual Among the Karao of Eastern Benguet

Chanco, Martha Carmel Flor (1980) Feast and Ritual Among the Karao of Eastern Benguet. Masters thesis, University of the Philippines, Diliman.

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The Karao are a small group of farmers who live in the southern foothills of Mt. Pulag, six kilometers north of the municipality of Bokod, Benguet province. A salient feature of their culture is the Ancestral House Organization which is composed of several families belonging to the same “house of origin” and having common deceased relatives and ancestors. Each ancestral house organization in Karao has a distinct set of rituals and feasts called chilos which are performed by the member families from time to time. This study seeks to establish the rationale behind this system of exclusive ritual and feast performance in the ancestral house organization. Investigation is geared towards giving a clear picture of how feasts and rituals function in Karao society, and how the performance of these contribute to the maintenance of the ancestral house organization. As a form of Karao feast, special attention was put into the pishit. This study also was concerned with establishing the pishit as an economic redistributive system or levelling mechanism whereby wealthy members of the society are obliged to give a share of their property to the rest of the community members by hosting a pishit. In this regard, this work likewise sought to determine whether or not there exists a relation between the pishit and the authority and power structures of Karao society. For this research endeavor, the researcher lived among the Karao for four months, utilizing participant observation techniques and interviews of informants and specific case studies, as modes of data-gathering. Analysis of the data indicates that the system of exclusive feast and ritual performance by the ancestral house organization is deeply rooted in the Karao’s concept of the role of the dead in their lives. Deceased relatives and ancestors are the most senior members of the ancestral house organization. They serve as the protectors and guardians of their living descendants and are an all-powerful force that can provide blessings or mete out punishments. Maintaining favorable alliances with the dead through the performance of feasts and ritual or ancestral house chilos is necessary. The dead are believed to afford the living with bountiful blessings in return for these offerings. The pishit is an economic redistributive system or levelling mechanism which is characterized by the investment by the host of a large quantity of goods such as pigs and rice, and the participation of communities in Karao and in other areas. It is a means of achieving prestige, status, and influence whereby pishit host become respectable members of the society, and assume influential positions in the Council of Elders. It is hoped that this study will give a clearer understanding of Karao culture in view of its beinga relatively unstudied group. May this work serve as a basis for generating hypotheses for future studies on the Karao.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: cultural performance, cultural performance history, rites and rituals, Benguet, folk culture
Depositing User: Machine Whisperer
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2017 14:27
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2017 13:55
URI: http://philippineperformance-repository.upd.edu.ph/id/eprint/2299

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