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The ceremony of the Hain

Ceremonia del Hain

The Hain, the main ceremony of the Selk'nam, was celebrated for last time in XX century.

It was a rite of initiation for boys and an educative experience based on the belief that in the old days there was a predominance of women.

The ceremony of the Klóketen or Hain is the widespread aspect of the cultural life, corresponding to the ritual of initiation of the young men in the tribes from a common territory. The boys of between fourteen and sixteen years were separated of their home to become Klóketen in the maturity through the ceremony. The most important and interesting aspect of the Hain ceremony was the harassment. It became on the boy by terrorific representations of spirits and the boy would have to remain full of value. Spirits were performed by actors dressed in disguise to hide their identity and create a permanent atmosphere. Somehow they felt possessed by the spirits they believed to be supernatural.

The candidates to be recognized like adults and hunters had to support hard requeriments of dominion on themselves. Solitary huntings, limitations of movement, expression, dreaming and feeding. It was exhorted to them to correct its character.

The social structure Selknam was based in the submission of the women, for that reason the most important was the initiation and entrance of the men to a masculine brotherhood.

The original myth was narrated to them: formerly the social superiority was into the women hands, directed by the Moon. They disguised themselves of spirits for making believe the men that these were endorsing them. The ceremony finished when young men receive the guanaco leather belt, the Koschel.