Old Pecos Bull and Corn Dance

Old Pecos Bull and Corn Dance

August 2
On the Feast of Porcingula (named after the shrine of their patron saint, Santa Maria de los Angeles, in Portiuncula, Italy), Indians at the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico hold a celebration that combines both traditional Indian and Roman Catholic elements. On August 1, the day before the feast, six Indian priests wearing white shirts and trousers with red headbands and sashes come out of the ceremonial kiva and circle the plaza, chanting. Then the dancers are summoned to the kiva to prepare for the next day's corn dance.
On August 2, a mass is sung in honor of Santa Maria de los Angeles, after which the priest of Jemez accompanies her image to the shrine that has been set up for her in the plaza. The Pecos "bull," named after the people who were forced to abandon the Pecos Pueblo in favor of Jemez in 1838, is really a dancer carrying a framework that resembles a bull. Throughout the two days of the festival, the bull is prodded with sticks and tormented in mock bullfights. The men and boys who play the role of matador are less than flattering in their imitations of white men, which usually draw laughs from the spectators. There is a feast for the bull and the bullfighters, and after that the corn dance is performed before Santa Maria's shrine.
CONTACTS:
Department of Tourism Jemez Pueblo
7413 Hwy. 4
P.O. Box 100
Jemez Pueblo, NM 87024
877-733-5687 or 505-834-7235; fax: 505-834-2221
www.jemezpueblo.org
SOURCES:
IndianAmer-1989, p. 300