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Syncretism is the combination of different ideas, thoughts and beliefs. Its features can be found not only in the religious, but also in mythology, art, culture, philosophy. Syncretism played a great part in the reformation of Roman Catholic Church; however it did not play any role in spreading Christianity to Latin America. For instance, Catholicism and Protestantism were derived there exactly from the combination of the religion that was brought, Catholicism, and indigenous culture and traditions of those lands. It all made religious traditions, celebrations in Latin America more varied. Syncretism in Borderlands and nepantla theory lies in the transformation that mestizos have to take. Being divided not only by land, but also cultures, nepantlers, or the ones who were moving between these two sorts of worlds, still respect all transformation and all differences they have to take. Other signs of religious transformation between Americans and Latinos are the appearance of such movements as charismatic and renewalist movements which main goal is to spread their own Hispanic way of Catholicism to America.
Catholicism of Latin America is rich for novenas which from Hispanic mean “nine”. Novenas are the special kinds of prayers that last for nine days and mostly are dedicated to saints or virgins (as Virgin Mary). Every virgin has their sort of name like for example, la Virgin de Guadalupe, or Our Lady of Guadalupe. Long ago on the hills of New Mexico appeared The Lady from Heaven. She declared herself as the mother of the true God. She came then from heaven with a request to the local Bishop to build a church and although the Bishop hesitated at first, The Lady from Heaven sent him several signs, like she left the picture of her imprinted on cloth, tilma, in order to prove that she did exist. Moreover, from those times the quality or the image of tilma did not change. Nowadays it is believed that the Lady from Heaven is protecting people and moreover, there is a special day dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. La Llorona, in her turn, is the weeping woman from the well-known legend which is spread mostly in America. It is told about a woman, Maria, who drowned her own children in order to be with a man, but when this man rejected her, she drowned herself in the lake. Now this woman is cursed for her sin to wander on Earth for eternity. It is also believed that of someone would hear her wails, one is marked with death. Sometimes La Llorona is compared to La Malinche, a woman who was Cortes’s interpreter and mistress, betrayed by Spanish. It is believed that she also killed her children and now is seeking her revenge.
Religious poetics is the term used by the scholar Karen Dieleman in her work Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Religious Poetics: Congregationalist Models of Hymnist and Preacher. In her essay, she took great analyses of the poet’s figure and paid attention to Browning’s poem Aurora Leigh. The main concepts of this poem are the one’s place in the world, especially it was concerned men, and the notion of the existence. Many scholars who analysed Aurora Leigh state that in this poem, a poet is compared to a prophet. However, exactly this religious paradigm poet-prophet was kind of problematic for the author herself, because as one can remember there were gender restrictions in Victorian age. The whole figure of the prophet in culture is not exactly the way to gain, as Browning thought, some religious knowledge. Instead of the mentioned paradigm, she presented us the paradigm of poet as a preacher who needs to send his main doctrines, his main arguments to everyone and be sure that these doctrines would be heard.
A gift, or oblation in theology, can be declared to different religious notions like “Spiritual Gifting”, gift of sacrifice and even gift of religion. An oblation, or a gift, is meant to be used while worshipping the name of God. The concept of “gift” can be accepted both in narrow meaning like just some lifeless things (fruits) or its spiritual context (faith, spiritual sacrifice). The tradition of “gifting” came long ago from Jewish, but later it was also adapted and extended in its meaning by Christians. In Christians’ meaning religious “gifts” has to be given in the name of God, but to churches and clergymen. It is believed that spiritual gifts can only be given by Jesus with the help of Holy Spirit. These gifts are unseen, but exactly they determine our relationships with God and to use these “gifts”, one just has to help whenever and wherever it is needed. One of the movements that believe in this sort of spiritual gifts is called New Order of the Latter Rain. In this movement, they believe that they can by just laying on of their hands and praying to God to take or give spiritual gifts. Moreover, this movement is not the only one that believes in unseen gifts and their healing power.
Rites of passage and Mimesis are both quite different terms. Rites of passage is the term that means mostly a special ceremony or ritual when one wants to change the status. Such well-known ceremonies, for instance as Bar Mitzvah, are very important rates of passage in one’s life. In most religions, Rites of passage mean the transition from one period of life to another. In Catholicism, one of the most important religious rite of passage is the First Confession. Mimesis in its turn means the imitation of some actions. For instance, in the religious customs of America one can see a sort of imitations of Latina/o religious traditions. However, more often mimesis can be found in art and literature. For instance, when the Bible is compared to the other literature works that are telling people the theories of existence.
Day of the Dead is the holiday which is celebrated in Mexico. It is a special celebration when all friends and members of the family are gathering to pray for the ones that are already dead. Mostly this holiday is celebrating in Mexico. According to the traditions of this holiday, people are gathering around the altar made from special sugar sweets and from the favourite food of ones who have died. In the United States, this holiday is mostly held in places where Mexican residents are living. For instance, In California, there are special art-centres that every year make this holiday both with traditional and some even political elements.
Nowadays one can find among Catholic buildings in Latin America, many Pentecostals and Protestant churches. However, one needs to understand that the choice of the church is always everyone’s own choice. Most of the adults want to make sort of faith commitments and, that is why they think that being baptized ensured this commitment. Moreover, it does not concern children as they are not adult yet. That is why the most of Latina/o change their traditions and transform into evangelistic ones. The transformation, however, mostly is really tragic and hard as sometimes people just have to change churches due even to their economic situation.
All of these three terms such as espiritualismo, curanderismo and Santeria are very different from each other, For instance, Santeria is a combination of beliefs of Afro-Caribbean people that was initially influenced by Roman Catholic Church and was brought to Caribbean by African slaves. Santeria is a syncretic religion and it includes in it even the animal sacrifices and many other rituals. While espiritualismo and curanderismo are sort of philosophies. Espiritualismo has a lot of different ideas and thoughts in it and due to it is believed that immaterial reality does exist. Espiritualismo includes in it also the philosophies about God existence and even immortality. Curanderismo in its turn is a kind of philosophy about secret healing. It includes some prayers and even herbal techniques. Moreover, curanderismo includes in it elements of spiritualism. From the other side, curanderismo is also certain beliefs which are common in American and Latina/o societies.
Liberation theology is a Catholic theological movement made in the name of Jesus Christ and his teachings. It explains his teaching in a very modern way due to injustice in economical, political or social life. The believers and participants of this movement think that Liberation theology explains Christianity just from the side of poor ones, from their everyday fights with hunger and other sufferings. It takes its roots from Latin America and moreover, it begun as the sort of opposition to poverty. With time Liberation theology became a very effective and moral way to fight with injustice. Of course, Catholic Church was against such movement and afraid of losing their hierarchical status in Latin America. Liberation theology helped indigenous population to stand their rights and fight with catholic elite.
To describe Latina/o religion, one needs to remember the history of those lands. Long ago these lands were occupied by Hispanic crusaders and almost all indigenous population was either killed or enslaved. With coming to new lands, crusaders brought their religions, Catholicism and Christianity. However, nowadays the religion of the most of Latina/o population is exactly Catholicism. However, let’s not forget like in any other country in the world there are other religions, so it is in Latin America. Some Latin Americans are Protestants and some Catholics, some of them do not prefer any religion at all. So, there is no certain or just one religion that is preferred among Latin/o society. The system of beliefs here is very varied. However, almost every scholar says that all Latin/o have very dependent relationships with God through saints. Latina/o strongly believes that the saints will always help them, always cure the disease, save from disasters. Latina/o Catholics are quite different from the Catholics of other nations. For instance, scholars discovered that there are not certain elements of Catholicism and its doctrines, but mostly just beliefs and spiritual connection. So, in Latina/o society, people are not oppressed or empowered by religion, otherwise, they believed they are spiritually free and spiritually strong with its help and with the help of God.