Swastika The Aya

The Aya belongs to a class of Katchinas who are not dancers, but rather runners (Rattle Runners) with the men and boys of the village who come in late spring. Very often, they will attract an unwary clown into the race, immediately catch the unhappy individual and perpetrate their particular form of punishment against him. They will quickly tire of this gesture and demand a reward for a young man in the crowd of spectators. The kachinas are required to pay to whip the young men, which they do by sending water when necessary for the germination of crops. The Ayas also carry a yucca (shrubby perennial plant - no shrub or genuine tree - remarkable for its hard leaf rosettes, in the shape of a sword, the floral emblem of New Mexico) that they use on any Which runner who loses, to give him several slaps. If, however, the man had to win, he would be given piki bread (hopi version of the tortilla).

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