XAVANTE-Evening

We’re in Central Brazil, in a remote village of the Xavante people. It’s late in the evening and you can hear frogs calling, but they’re not the only ones up at this time of night. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont.

“Often when people lie down and go to bed they don’t go to sleep. They talk a lot, they get up.”

Laura Graham is an associate professor in the department of Anthropology at the University of Iowa. She’s studied and lived amongst the Xavante over the past 18 years.

“And then around two in the morning, just when you think that everyone would really be falling asleep, I’d hear these loud whooping calls and that’s the adolescent men calling the members of their group to come out to sing with them in the central plaza and they often, in the dry season it gets very cold in Central Brazil so they would build a bonfire and make these calls. This happens after a young man has dreamed a song. He will call the members of his group together to teach them the song. So they stay out there for an hour or so chatting and then they begin to sing their song and then again they go around the village singing in front of each house. And so they provide entertainment in the middle of the night for the rest of the community. The Xavante say that staying up all night is a sign of virility and so these adolescent boys are out there singing and dancing and showing how strong and powerful they are to be able to stay up all night. The fact is though that often these young guys spend most of the day sleeping. So they’ve been preserving their resources to get out there and party at the night. ”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.


XAVANTE-Evening

For the young Xavante men of Central Brazil, staying up all night singing and dancing is a sign of virility.
Air Date:02/24/2000
Scientist:
Transcript:

We're in Central Brazil, in a remote village of the Xavante people. It's late in the evening and you can hear frogs calling, but they're not the only ones up at this time of night. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont.

"Often when people lie down and go to bed they don't go to sleep. They talk a lot, they get up."

Laura Graham is an associate professor in the department of Anthropology at the University of Iowa. She's studied and lived amongst the Xavante over the past 18 years.

"And then around two in the morning, just when you think that everyone would really be falling asleep, I'd hear these loud whooping calls and that's the adolescent men calling the members of their group to come out to sing with them in the central plaza and they often, in the dry season it gets very cold in Central Brazil so they would build a bonfire and make these calls. This happens after a young man has dreamed a song. He will call the members of his group together to teach them the song. So they stay out there for an hour or so chatting and then they begin to sing their song and then again they go around the village singing in front of each house. And so they provide entertainment in the middle of the night for the rest of the community. The Xavante say that staying up all night is a sign of virility and so these adolescent boys are out there singing and dancing and showing how strong and powerful they are to be able to stay up all night. The fact is though that often these young guys spend most of the day sleeping. So they've been preserving their resources to get out there and party at the night. "

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.