Prestige and alcohol in South Mexican fiesta: drinking with saint patrons in the central valleys of Oaxaca

Joanna Jadwiga Zamorska
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Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis

Food and alcohol are the key elements of celebrating a Mexican fiesta. I show that drinking at patronal feasts can be the way of constructing a respectful position, as presented in the ethnographic material collected in the three suburban communities of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca (in the years 2012–13). I discuss the relation between drinking alcohol at fiestas, participation and collective identity. I analyse the issue of prestige in the context drinking at fiestas and its relation to gender. I also discuss the role of alcohol in ritual exchanging of gifts at the patronal feasts which were under study and its relation with prestige. Other questions being analysed include the problem of refusing drink and the Catholic and non-Catholic critiques of patronal feasts as based on perceptions of excessive drinking.

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