New Functions for Old Religions
DOI link for New Functions for Old Religions
New Functions for Old Religions book
The indigenous religion is probably but a shadow of what it was in ancient times. The Aymara originally possessed some sort of temple cult, with many temples being erected as late as Inca domination. There are essentially three religions in the altiplano: the indigenous, the Catholic, and the Protestant. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, has for centuries provided virtually the only paths of communication with the outside world, and has acted as mediator between the Indians and the mestizos. In colonial times, Catholic priests were sometimes protective of their charges, and even when the clergy itself settled into a pattern of corruption and exploitation it remained the most accessible representative of mestizo culture. While many Aymara will occasionally attend a mass or baptism, and have at least a vague idea of the story of Christ, it is in the fiesta that the Aymara’s Catholicism truly finds its expression.