Linkogle, S. (1998) 'The
Revolution and the Virgin Mary: Popular Religion and Social Change in
Sociological Research Online, vol. 3, no. 2, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/3/2/8.html>
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Received: 6/3/98 Accepted: 11/6/98 Published: 30/6/98
'... in popular piety there is a mix of the divine and the human; there are lights and shades; the sacred and the profane are seen. We recognise this matter as a valid method of evangelisation, but there must be a purification of the cultural expressions of the people.' (Ubeda Bravo, 1992)
'Neither war nor earthquakes, nor volcanic eruptions, nor acts of terrorism, nor economic difficulties has been able to dampen the fervour of the Nicaraguan people...' [in their celebration of La Purísima] (Armando Quintero M.,1992).
It is from this perspective that one can better understand the neurotic and ambivalent attitude of the Nicaraguan man before the figure of the mother and therefore before women in general. The maternal cults of today are an expression of the identity of the victim that we all share and therefore they reflect a deep pain: the self-negation that obligated the mestizo population to be ashamed of their colour, their ancestry, and of the culture of their maternal ethnicity (Montenegro, 1992, p.8).
The Indian goddesses were goddesses of fecundity, linked to the cosmic rhythms, the vegetative processes and agrarian rites. The Catholic Virgin is also the Mother..., but her principal attribute is not to watch over the fertility of the earth but to provide refuge for the unfortunate. The situation has changed: the worshipers do not try to make sure of their harvests but to find a mother's lap. The Virgin is the consolation of the poor, the shield of the weak, the help of the oppressed (Paz, 1961, p. 85).
'... throwing a Purísima has the effect on those who have been more prosperous during the preceding year of effectively wiping out their savings and eliminating any material advantage that they might have accumulated over their neighbours. The annual celebration of the Virgin Mary's purity, then, is not coincidentally also the approach of a great levelling device that vigorously levels the economic distinctions that have accumulated in a community over the year.' (Lancaster, 1988: p.53)
'... the revolutionary Christians were putting into practice the [Sandinista's] call to re-invest religious symbols and celebrations with new revolutionary meanings...In the liberation theology being preached in the country, the revolutionary Christians identified sin with capitalism; Satan with the bourgeoisie and US imperialism; salvation, or deliverance from sin with revolution; the Messiah - Jesus being a revolutionary zealot - with the vanguard or the revolutionary party; the kingdom of God with revolutionary socialism. All this was the Marxist-Leninist world view and eschatology; only the terms changed.' (Belli, 1985: p. 160)
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