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Among the Hindus in India, dung from holy cows is smeared upon the body during religious festivals. The Hindus consider cow dung to be a purifying agent and cow urine holy water. Hindu devotees sometimes besmear their entire bodies with human excrement as an act of humiliation. Among the Apache tribe of New Mexico, bands of sacred clowns smear brown clay in four horizontal stripes across the chest, face, and legs. The sacred clowns join with the people in dances, and with the aid of magical whips they chase away disease. In medieval France, during the High Mass of the Feast of Fools, clowns dressed as devils mounted dung carts and threw excrement upon the congregation (recalling Luther’s anal projectiles launched at the devil). During the festival, churchgoers would break all manner of taboo. They would take off their clothes, enact obscene pantomimes, play cards, roll dice, and sing scatological songs. At its climax, the clowns would go to the altar to eat blood pudding (called boudin, a word that can also be used as a colloquial expression for excrement). That would have livened up our comparatively drab and colorless Lutheran service!


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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