Ritual Hunting for Weddings

Ritual Hunting of the Xavante of Brazil

Xavante wooden cotton spool
Xavante necktie with brown and white feather
Xavante necktie with multicolored feather
Xavante hand rattle
Xavante leg rattle
Xavante basket with two handles part 1
Close-up of Xavante basket with two handles
Xavante basket with braided strap and lid part 1
Close- up of Xavante basket with braided strap and lid

Weddings are the most common ceremonies for collective hunting. Wedding hunts may last several weeks. Hunters from the groom’s and bride’s families participate, as well as other community members, signaling the importance of collectivity and reciprocity.

It is common for Xavante men to wear neckties daily and in special occasions such as ritual hunts. Neckties are made from braided cotton, which is made with the help of a spool (below). The neckties are decorated with feathers of different colors as showcased.

Cotton Spool

Man’s necktie decorated with a black and white feather

Man’s necktie decorated with a colorful feather

Rattles are important paraphernalia in marriages and other ritual occasions. The hand rattle below is made of braided cotton and wild peccary hooves.

Xavante hand rattle made of braided cotton and wild peccary hooves

Leg rattles are traditionally tied under the right knee. This one is decorated with blue and yellow parrot feathers, black and white hawk feathers, and peccary hooves.

Xavante leg rattle made with cord, peccary hooves, and multicolored feathers

Xavante weddings involve one to three weeks of collective hunting and preparation by the bride’s and groom’s families. The large game is given to the family of the bride to show generosity and respect for the bride and her household. Smaller game is retained by individual hunters for their own consumption.

Large baskets made from plant fibers (below) are helpful for transporting and storing meat and other products. After the wedding, meat is cooked in the bride’s house and the entire community receives a portion.

Large woven basket with two handles

Large woven basket with a braided strap and lid