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January the 2nd: Kachinas

Over four hundred years ago, the Spanish first stepped into the arid mesa lands of northern Arizona. Long before that, the Hopi (the Peaceful People) occupied three mesas just east of the San Francisco Peaks, near Flagstaff. Today, Hopi life on those three mesas is much the same as it was before the Spanish arrival.

Through the ages, the Hopi people have always faced the ever present urgency for water. Water to grow corn, which is central to Hopi existence; water to drink, water to survive for yet another millennium. Each December the Kachina spirits, who live in the San Francisco Peaks and in other high mountains, come and go from the Hopi kivas. Until July, they help to bring the rain that is needed to renew the land and to make it ready for the new growing season. Then, the Kachina spirits go back to the San Francisco Peaks to rest.

From the winter solstice through July, Kachina ceremonies fill the villages of Hopi. Hopi men personify kachinas to give shape and visual understanding to the invisible Kachina spirits who have sustained the Hopi life for a thousand years or more. Today, a Hopi man who participates in the Hopi ceremonies believes that his personal identity is transformed into the Kachina spirit he represents.

Hopi children believe in the Kachinas. Kachina dolls are given to the children so that they will become familiar with the Kachina spirits (there are well over 200 of them) as a part of their religious training. (Although there is no Hopi word for religion, the word is a convenient way for us to express the Hopi belief system and the Hopi way of life.)

Since the middle of the nineteenth century, Kachina dolls have attracted the attention and fascination of people everywhere in the world including scholars, art collectors, and tourists. Today, some people collect Kachina dolls as curios or objects of art. Others collect them because the Kachina dolls somehow seem to give them a kind of spiritual link into a world about which they know very little.

Barton Wright, Hopi Kachinas.


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2 Responses to “January the 2nd: Kachinas”


  1. enero 19, 2011 en 11:07 pm

    finalmente,Diego, no era tan dificil poner ton blog en mi “barre de favoris”. Tengo preparado el libro sobre las kachinas que te prometí

    bernardo grizzly

  2. junio 4, 2013 en 2:19 pm

    Amazing! Its really amazing paragraph, I have got
    much clear idea about from this paragraph.


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Autor/Auteur

DIEGO VECCHIO, Buenos Aires, 1969. Reside en Paris desde 1992.

Publicó "Historia calamitatum" (Buenos Aires, Paradiso, 2000), "Egocidio: Macedonio Fernández y la liquidación del yo" (Rosario, Beatriz Viterbo, 2003), "Microbios" (Rosario, Beatriz Viterbo, 2006) y "Osos" (Rosario, Beatriz Viterbo, 2010).

Contacto: dievecchio@gmail.com

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