Reading religion and consuming the past in the feast of Guadalupe

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Publication details

Wessell, A & Jones, A 2006, 'Reading religion and consuming the past in the feast of Guadalupe, Anthropology of Food, vol. 5 May.

The publisher's version of this article is available at http://aof.revues.org/index31.html


Fiestas are symbolic events that articulate the popular memory of different social groups. The rituals which fiestas perform invoke the past, bringing it into the present moment. Fiestas are thereby a trans-historical arena where official accounts can be contextualised and accordingly contested. The fiesta de Guadalupe is celebrated in Tortugas, New Mexico each December. Food is integral to the religious expression and community identity of the fiesta, echoed in its translation as the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In this paper the meal served in the Casa de Comida will be used as a historical text, as a form of communication or representation of the community and its history. Attention is directed to the interdependence of indigenous and immigrant histories expressed in the preparation and consumption of meals, as well as to the legacies of colonialism inherent in the feast.

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