picture of cover


The Yaqui Indian Year

by Muriel Thayer Painter


Other religious events that take place during the year are listed in the calendar on the last page. All are offered in a spirit of deep devotion and for those who work on them the reward is a blessing or "flower" from heaven. They always include church ritual and often dancing by one or all groups. Some fiestas are given to fulfill vows generally made in time of illness. Those in 1,ent are in memory of the wanderings and sufferings of Jesus. The family who gives the fiesta offers a symbolic refuge to Jesus during the long night of the fiesta.

Vespers follow the Catholic calendar. The Maestros conduct the traditional vesper services in the church and the Matachinis dance outside between the church and the church cross.


To the music of violins and guitars the Matachinis dance their bright patterns at vespers and fiestas and escort the holy figures in processions. They are dedicated by vow to Mary and are the "soldiers of the Virgin." The dyed feathers of their wands are called "flower" as are the peaked cane headdresses with strips of crepe paper which swing with exuberant motion in the dance.

picture in front of the mission

The Matachinis dance at the Mission San Xavier del Bac near Tucson at the Feast of San Francisco Xavier in the same manner as at fiestas in Pascua..

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The University of Arizona Press, 9/18/1998 7:58AM