Death Ritual Among Maguindanaon: Its Semiotic Interpretation

Abstract

This paper explores the signs and symbols incorporated in the practice of dulang, a death ritual of the Maguindanaon. The dulang is believed to be a ritual of the Maguindanaon where through the use of kulintang(melodic gong music) the bpedtunong( the medium who performs pag-ipat) enters into a trance and is possessed by a spirit that facilitates healing. Pag-ipat is overlain with symbols comprising a veritable wellspring of folk expression that is at once symbolic and imbued with meaning. Semiotics, the study of meaning-making, explores the study of signs and symbols as a significant part of communication. Semiotic theory provides a vital lens through which to view ritual messages. Chandler (2011) states that signs take the form of words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts or objects. Umberto Eco, an Italian semiotician and novelist, claimed that every cultural phenomenon may be studied as communication(Caesar, 1999). Since all forms of ritual are communicative as stated by Dow(1986), pag-ipat is an interesting topic to be explored using semiotic framework and analysis. The data were comprised of the objects used in the ritual and were analyzed through Barthe’s semiotic framework of connotation, denotation and myth. The study reveals that pag-ipat communicates certain belief and ideology which can be deciphered through its elements such as form, movement and pattern.



Author Information
Almira Menson, Mindanao State University, Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2021
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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