A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE CANELA - Click on photos to enlarge. Approximate time: The Canela day begins at sunset.
Sunset. Photo by Myles Crocker
6:30-7 pm Men’s council meeting.
In the Canela world, twilight is most delightful, with picturesque skies, warmth emanating from the sand, and soft indirect light. It is a time of peace and relaxation, this is a time of male sociability, and for women to prepare meals in houses or attend babies and children. Cooking fires appear inside or behind the houses, and for the Canela, the day is just beginning.
Cutting child’s hair.
7:30 pm Sing-dancing.
At the end of the council meeting men return to their wives’ houses. Then a sing-dance leader appointed by the council begins to roll his rattle in the center of the plaza, waiting for the women’s sing-dance line to form. Women who have daughters dancing sit behind and downhill from the line of women, where their babies and children play in the sand.
Late afternoon sing-dancing.
10 pm Going home to sleep.
After the evening dance is over, women in and behind the dancing line drift slowly homeward.
3 am Sing-dancing.
It is surprising how early the Canela get up in the morning whether to sing-dance, watch festivities, fabricate material artifacts, or make an early start on the trip to their farm. By two or three in the morning, the sing-dance leader emerges from his house and goes to the plaza where he begins to rotate his gourd-rattle for all in the village to hear.
Burden bearing at the farm.
Calling out the women. Photo by Myles Crocker
5:30 am End of sing-dance.
By this time it is broad daylight, but the sun has not yet risen. The Canela always stop singing before the sun appears. They stop soon enough for young men and women to become calm before going down to any one of the swim-bathing holes in the nearby streams.
6:30 am Plaza gathering for men.
Men go to the center of the plaza to begin the morning council meeting.
7-9 am Council Meeting and Work.
Some women go off to the family farm as early as 5 or 6 o’clock; others leave by 8 or 9. Still other women stay in the village, tending children and preparing food or possibly making objects for their own use and, especially these days, for sale. Men go out to work on a task for the tribe, such as clearing or maintaining tribal boundaries, or they might repair the road to Barra do Corda, hunt in a group, harvest rice, or help finish the work on another person’s farm.
Working in the farm plot.
Working with the cattle.
Fishing with poison.
Boy playing "monkey" in a mango tree. Photo by Jean Crocker.
1 pm Siesta.
Serious work in the fields, or on projects in the village, stops shortly after noon. Then people undertake lighter matters as the heat of the day begins to tell. If the sun is not overcast, sands of the village become so hot that even toughened Canela soles can scarcely bear the heat. Individuals find shade, lie down to rest, catch naps and chat.
Man in hammock
4:30 pm Log racing is a pan-Gê sport. It is a favored way of returning from work sites to the village in the mid-afternoon. After these races the men troop to the bathing holes to wash and cool off.
Soccer (futbol) is the national sport of Brazil. The Canela began playing in 1957. The Canela futbol team has helped earn respect among the younger "backlanders" or whites.
The sing-dancing in the plaza is dignified, slow and short, intended mainly to enhance ceremonial presentations to the elders.The great heat of the day has passed, and the remaining warmth, much of it rising from the sands, is pleasant and relaxing.
Sing-dancing in the plaza.
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