Gender and Religion

Public religious practice is also dominated by men, especially when it is associated with political leadership. Political leaders are expected to give spiritual advice and deliver "sermons" on Sundays and religious holidays in addition to their governing and judicial roles. On Catholic feast days, the ritual offices are performed by the elected male authorities, with the exception of a female tenanche or moreami (Kennedy & Lopez, 1981) cargo responsibilities. Women play an essential, though less visible, role in the preparation and distribution of special feast foods and tesguino (corn beer). Ritual costumed dance is dominated by men, though women do dance, especially the yumari, pascol, and nutua (offerings dance). In general, women play a more central role in indigenous religious events that take place on local ranches rather than the church, such as death fiestas and curing ceremonies. Often, a healer's wife will play an active supporting role in his healing practice, which is essentially religious in nature, and may specialize in particular illnesses or treatment of babies and women. Onoruame, or "he who is father," is a male creator deity now modeled after the Christian God, but also associated with the sun. The moon (mecha) is considered to be female, identified also as Eyeruame, or "she who is mother," an entity that loves and cares for her Tarahumara children at night (see also Levi, 1993, p. 290). In Christian Tarahumara worship, the moon has likely been assimilated into the identity of the Virgin Mary, and as such become part of a spiritual hierarchy, sometimes identified as "God's wife" and sometimes below God and Jesus in power. The sun and moon may have been considered the male and female aspects of one spiritual entity, rather than two beings dually opposed. The devil is male, and sometimes is conceived of as having a wife. Other minor spirit beings that inhabit (or inhabited) the landscape, such as little water people and giants, are conceptualized as consisting of both males and females. Most Tarahumara human origin myths identify the first humans as a pair, man and woman or boy and girl, who were created at the same time and became the parents of all Tarahumara.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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