Religious orders across the globe, transcending all lines of creed and ethnicity, engage in ritual as an active part of spirituality in practice, prayer, worship, and gathering. While the particular aesthetics and functions of ritual process are often unique to each faith experience, the use of ritual is also a unifying element in human experience, serving as an effective means to create and define meaningful interactions, spaces, and outcomes.
Pennsylvania’s tradition of ritual healing known as powwow, or Braucherei in the language of the Pennsylvania Dutch, is one of many vernacular healing systems in North America that combines elements of religion and beliefwith health and healing. Informed primarily by oral tradition, powwow encompasses a wide spectrum of healing rituals for restoring health and preventing illness, among humans and livestock. Combining a diverse assortment of verbal benedictions, prayers, gestures, and the use of everyday objects, as well as celestial and calendar observances, these rituals are used not only for healing of the body, but also for protection from physical and spiritual harm, assistance in times of need, and ensuring good outcomes in everyday affairs. The majority of these rituals are overlain with Christian symbols in their pattern and content, comprising a veritable wellspring of folk-religious expression that is at once symbolic, poetic, and imbued with meaning worthy of serious attention and exploration.
Tuesday-Friday with 2:30 pm tour or by appointment
Weekends 1:00 - 4:30 pm (walk-ins welcome)
Sunday, April 23, 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Sunday, October 29, 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Powwowing in Pennsylvania: Healing Rituals of the Dutch Country
- 1001 Cathedral Rd
- Bryn Athyn, PA 19009
- Glencairn Museum
- Recurring daily