Leisure Recreation and the Arts

Leisure time and recreation is not expressly demarcated in Tarahumara culture, but exists in a continuum of work, religious practice, sports, and play. In general men have more leisure time than women, mainly because agricultural responsibilities sometimes wane, while household tasks do not. Women and men spend their leisure time in similar ways, primarily socializing among family and peers at tesguinadas (though work is often integrated here). At tesguinadas men and women play music, dance, drink, tell stories, and joke with each other. Usually the genders start off drinking in separate areas of a rancho, but become more and more mingled as festivities progress. Another form of recreation is the footrace. Both men and women (and boys and girls) run races of between 20 km and several hundred kilometers, in which the supporters (those who have bet on their team's winning) run portions of the race along with the runners to light the way in the night (men run while kicking a small ball ahead of them; women flipping a small hoop with sticks). Men often play throwing games in their free time, such as cuatro, in which they take turns throwing stones or coins into a square court. Pennington (1963, pp. 174-177) describes several other stick-throwing dice games, gender-specific team games, and archery games. Both men and women spend free time visiting friends and family, often in distant ranches, and most enjoy spending time "in the woods," hunting, fishing, or gathering wild foods.

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