picture of cover


The Yaqui Indian Year

by Muriel Thayer Painter


picture of Chapayekas standing in front of the church


They listen to and mock the prayers and songs of the Maestros.

The most important event of the year is the Easter Ceremony which commemorates the Passion of Jesus. Two aspects of the Ceremony occur simultaneously. One is the Catholic liturgy for Lent, carried out with faithful devotion by the church group. The other is a dramatization of events in the life of Jesus. In this the part of Christ is taken collectively by men of the church group who carry the crosses and crucifixes. The Virgin is represented by the women of the church group who bear images of Mary on decorated litters. The members of the Caballero and Fariseo societies, who are under vow to Jesus, impersonate the evil men who persecuted Christ. Those of the Fariseos who wear big masks are called Chapayekas.

The following pictures of the Easter Ceremony were done by children in the fourth to sixth grades of the Richey School in Pascua. The classroom teacher was Kathleen Busby and Mildred Smitham was the volunteer art instructor. The principal was Winnie Wheeler. At first the children were reticent about drawing or even talking about the Easter Ceremony. Soon, however, they were reassured by the genuine interest in and respect for their religion on the part of the teachers and they became convinced that others, too, are interested in their ceremonies. For weeks, then, they talked and drew in every free minute, even to the last day of school. These pictures and others from the same unit of work are in the permanent collection of the Arizona State Museum.

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The University of Arizona Press, 9/18/1998 7:45AM