Adding to the difficulty in identifying and classifying these groups, there are a number of kachinas whose actions are identified as clown antics. These ceremonies are social occasions for the village, where friends and relatives are able to come from neighboring towns to see the “dance” and partake in the feasts that are always prepared.

The purpose of this is to help the children learn to know what the different kachinas look like. Masked members of the tribe dress up as kachinas for religious ceremonies that take place many times throughout the year. The dolls are then taken home and hung up on the walls or from the rafters of the house, so that they can be constantly seen by the children. It is believed that some of the older kachina rituals are no longer practiced, but there are new ones that have been introduced.There are a number of other ceremonies and rituals; some are public, however, many of them are kept in secret. Overall, the kachinas can generally be said to represent historical events and things in nature, and are used to educate children in the ways of life. In addition, the wooden carvings of these spirits are also made to give to the children to help them identify the many kachinas. However, before they left, the kachinas taught some of their ceremonies to a few faithful young men and showed them how to make the masks and costumes. With their powerful ceremonies, the kachinas brought rain for the crops and were in general of much help and comfort. Kachinas are understood as having humanlike relationships; they may have uncles, sisters, and grandmothers, and may marry and have children.

It is a place where the spirits or shades live: the newly born come from there and the dead return there.

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Watch the full group dance, Broken Dolls, from Episode 22 (Kiss Or Get Off The Pot) of Dance Moms Season 4. Subscribe for more …