MAGDALENA PILGRIMAGE: Gathering of Cultures

Thousands of worshippers are walking to Magdalena, Mexico this week, as an act of devotion to St. Francis Xavier. The pilgrimage and the celebration in Magdalena is a gathering of cultures from all over the southwest. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Jim Griffith is coordinator of the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona library.

“Most of the people who do the walking are Mexican-Americans and Mexicans. Usually in groups of two or three or four. Quite often carrying staffs or walking sticks which identifies them in a way as pilgrims. The Tohono O’odham, the desert people who used to be called Papago Indians have a tremendous devotion to this saint and they go down every year. The Yaqui Indians also go in quantities and you can always tell on the fiesta day itself if there are Yaquis there because quite often they will be doing their devotional dances in front of the church as an offering to the saint. And so you can hear the distinctive Yaqui violin, harp and flute music long before you arrive at the church itself. And that adds another dimension.

“The major peoples of this region, Yaquis, O’odham, Mexicanos and to a lesser extent, Anglos, all get together for the occasion of this fiesta. Each one of them following his or her own cultural traditions, but united in a kind of devotion to San Francisco.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I’m Jim Metzner.

MAGDALENA PILGRIMAGE: Gathering of Cultures

The pilgrimage and celebration in Magdalena, Mexico is a gathering of cultures from all over the southwest.
Air Date:10/02/1997
Scientist:
Transcript:

Thousands of worshippers are walking to Magdalena, Mexico this week, as an act of devotion to St. Francis Xavier. The pilgrimage and the celebration in Magdalena is a gathering of cultures from all over the southwest. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Jim Griffith is coordinator of the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona library.

"Most of the people who do the walking are Mexican-Americans and Mexicans. Usually in groups of two or three or four. Quite often carrying staffs or walking sticks which identifies them in a way as pilgrims. The Tohono O'odham, the desert people who used to be called Papago Indians have a tremendous devotion to this saint and they go down every year. The Yaqui Indians also go in quantities and you can always tell on the fiesta day itself if there are Yaquis there because quite often they will be doing their devotional dances in front of the church as an offering to the saint. And so you can hear the distinctive Yaqui violin, harp and flute music long before you arrive at the church itself. And that adds another dimension.

"The major peoples of this region, Yaquis, O'odham, Mexicanos and to a lesser extent, Anglos, all get together for the occasion of this fiesta. Each one of them following his or her own cultural traditions, but united in a kind of devotion to San Francisco."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I'm Jim Metzner.