|Photograph taken by Martín Gusinde in Tierra del Fuego (Chile) in 1920 of the Selk'nam in the Hain ritual|
Selk'nam male initiation ceremonies, the passage to adulthood, were called Hain. Young males were called to a dark hut. There they would be attacked by "spirits", who were people dressed as supernatural beings. The children were taught to believe in and fear these spirits at childhood and were threatened by them in case they misbehaved. Their task in this rite of passage was to unmask the spirits; when the boys saw that the spirits were human, they were told a story of world creation related to the sun and moon. In a related story, they were told that in the past women used to be disguised as spirits to control men. When the men discovered the masquerade, they, in turn, would threaten women as spirits. According to the men, the women never learned that the masked males were not truly spirits, but the males found out at the initiation rite.
Before the European encounter, the various rites of the Hain lasted a very long time, perhaps even a year on occasion. It would end with the last fight against the "worst" spirit. Usually, Hains were started when there was enough food (for example a whale was washed onto the coast), a time when all the Selk'nam from all the bands used to gather at one place, in male and female camps. "Spirits" sometimes went to female encampments to scare them, as well as moving around and acting out in ways that related to their characters.
The last Hain was held in one of the missions in the early 20th century and was photographed by missionary Martin Gusinde. It was a shorter and smaller ceremony than they used to hold. The photos show the "spirit" costumes they created and wore.