Religious Syncretism - Paper

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Religious syncretism
Submitted by
Jeffrey D Brown

Submitted to Robin E. Rickli MA.
People of the Southwest (ANT 306)
Northern Arizona University

In the first five days after the Jesuit Missionaries came to the Yaqui country, they had converted five thousand Yaqui natives. The Yaqui’s have taken this convergence and now have what is considered to be a complex syncretism of their native and Catholic beliefs. One does not have a superiority over the other, there is no confusing one over the other and yet they are the same. Itom Aye (Our mother) is the Virgin Mary, Itom Achai (Our Father) is Jesus Christ. In Yaqui myths Jesus appears as a culture hero. In this myth the Pascola (Old man of the ceremony), deer and coyote dances are for him, and Matachines (soldiers of the virgin Mary) dance is for the Virgin Mary. In each town the church authorizes are trustees of the liturgy and ritual knowledge that underlies their patron saints for each. The rites of transition are presided over by them also. Member of the religious brotherhood or fraternity, also known as the Cofradia, hold the higher ranks and take an oath, in which they are the yo’owe or liturgical master. The yo'owe masters and the te mastian (liturgist) of every single town once assisted the missionary in his teaching, and they remained in charge of performing religious rites after the deportation of the Jesuits. In todays services the Catholic priest go from town to town to say the Mass on Sundays. The singer come next, then women in charge of the altars and temples, then the girls with banners during rituals and then the boys in the Holy week ritual and the Matachines. There are eight men and eight women in each village that are responsible the fulfilling the celebration of the patron saints, they are known as the fiesteros. There are normally two groups: the Moors (red customs) and the Christians (blue customs), and they have ritual contest between the two groups. The...
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