Saturday, March 9, 2013

Juracán, Yukiyú, Jupías y Pollo al Vaticano

(Dedicated to la M. Lahn who initiated this story)

When the Spaniards landed in the lands of the Arawaks, the Caribbean, they could not understand the fact that for the natives, there were not evil or good forces as presented by the Judeo-Christian ideology. The Arawaks explained their spiritual world in terms of its relationship to life, the material world, and how its destructive and constructive forces acted in a symbiotic relationship. Juracan and Yukiyu were the names used to refer to these creative forces. The Arawaks also honored the spirits of the dead, jupías, and built statues, cemíes, to represent them. Due to the entrenched Christian traditions and the colonizers’ inability to transcend them, they imposed their world views on the Arawaks, thus Juracan became the devil, and Yukiyu, Jehovah. The jupias were redefined by the Spaniards as the Arawaks conception of sainthood or the opposite, adoration of the devil, and, consequently, destroyed their cemies, and from then on, the Spaniards expected everybody to live according to the advanced Christian traditions,  happily forever and ever after (just kidding) until the new colonizers arrived: USA’s convenient and opportunistic democratic principles, protestant preachers and shopping malls. Mary stopped being a virgin, the saints not longer existed and Walmart and Costco are the new temples to visit on Sundays. Plasmas replaced the cemíes, and are used to watch Jerry Springer, CNN sanitized news, and, at present a bunch of stuffy, mostly old white men, dressed up in medieval clothing, sort of religious European drag queens, choosing one of their own, and once they finish with their election, parade and parade and parade as they spread incense and good sense, and more of their democratic principles. But luckily, as one descendant of the Arawaks just cynically informed me (cynicism is a quality widely spread among certain groups in the Americas, go figure!), they will use their cooking abilities - while watching the conclave - to make Pollo al Vaticano. And naively, the listener asked. how is the dish made? “Sin papa”, she responded.   

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