What's New

  • Music as a religious experience in Jamaica
    Posted: January 8, 2014 - 2:15pm

    "Where for the Americans singing a hymn is an act of praise, for the Jamaicans the song and all the dancing and rhythm that accompany it are a religious experience in themselves."

  • Migration affects Afro-Jamaican identity
    Posted: January 8, 2014 - 1:53pm

    The legacy of migration to Jamaica is evident in the faces and surnames of Jamaican Catholics. But today, almost all young people interviewed considered outward migration to the U.S., Canada or Great Britain a distinct possibility or even a likely occurrence.

  • Realities of family life contrast with Jamaicans' professed ideals
    Posted: January 8, 2014 - 12:44pm

    Family is important as an ideal in Jamaica, but the marriage rate—especially among the poor—has long been a matter of social concern. In recent years, almost 85% of births in Jamaica are to single mothers.

  • Mourning on 'nine night' a Jamaican way
    Posted: January 8, 2014 - 11:38am

    According to traditional Jamaican belief, the journey from this world to the next is not complete until nine nights after the death of the body. Until then, a malevolent ghost, or duppy, of a deceased person might linger after death, inhabiting its old house, or exacting revenge on persons who have mistreated it.

  • Mexico's Isthmus Zapotec on death, healing and pilgrimage
    Posted: November 20, 2013 - 12:30pm

    In a slide illustrated lecture, anthropologist Anya Peterson Royce shows how the Zapotec use flowers, processions and prayer in rituals that protect and guide spirits on their journey of dying. She also describes the Day of the Dead and Holy Week rituals and the role of the community healer.

  • Sisterhood of Boa Morte in Bahia, Brazil melds Catholicism and Candomblé
    Posted: November 8, 2013 - 2:02pm

    The Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death, or Boa Morte, in Bahia is comprised of Afro-Brazilian women who practice a combination of Catholicism and Candomblé, a religion with roots in the African slave trade.

  • Easter Sunday procession in Ouro Preto, Brazil recreates salvation history
    Posted: September 3, 2013 - 9:50am

    Ouro Preto culminates its Holy Week observances with a 6 a.m. Mass at St. Francis of Assisi and a procession along the 1 km route covered that decorated the night before in beautiful tapete, or sawdust carpets.

  • Tapetes: Building sawdust carpets for Easter procession in Brazil
    Posted: September 3, 2013 - 9:47am

    In the late night and morning hours after Saturday night’s Easter Vigil, townspeople decorate the cobblestone streets with a tapete, or carpet, of colored wood shavings to mark the hilly, one kilometer route for the next morning's Easter procession.

  • Youth in Ouro Preto, Brazil perform passion play Holy Saturday
    Posted: September 3, 2013 - 9:39am

    On the steps of Santa Efigênia, the church built on a separate hill by Chico Rey and other former slaves, a youth group gathered in the rain to perform the passion story.

  • Popular Good Friday services held outdoors in Ouro Preto, Brazil
    Posted: September 3, 2013 - 9:35am

    Good Friday’s commemorations return to Our Lady of Sorrows early in the day for preaching on the seven last words of Christ. Evening services take place before a much larger audience in front of St. Francis Church.


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