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Lent and Easter

Ceremonies of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe

January 18: The Mazo Kova Pahko (Deer Head) Ceremony: is held to commemorate the massacre of 400 Hiaki individuals at Maso Kova in the Vakateeve (tall bamboo) Mountains in Rio Hiaki, Sonora, Mexico. This massacre occurred on January of 1900. This ceremony is held in Pascua Pueblo. Prayer Leaders, Kantoras (Female Singers) the oficios (Pahko’ola Dance Group) and (Deer Dance Group) will also participate in this memorial. These participants may include: Pahko’ola Dancers (3), Deer Dancer (1), Deer Dance Singers (3), Violinist (1), Harpist (1), Pahko’ola Moro (Assistant for Pahko’ola group) (1), Maso Moro (Assistant for Deer Dance group) (1) It is an evening ceremony. Participants from Sonora, Mexico may be requested to participate if we are unable to locate enough tekiakame (ceremonial persons) in the five local Hiaki communities.
February: Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The processions and weekend ceremonials begin and the Prayer Leaders, Kantoras (Female singers) Kiyohteis (Female Church Assistants) Vanteareom (Female Flag Bearers) Anhelitom (Angels) Padrinos and Madrinas (Godparents) and Kohtumvre Ya’ura (Fariseo Society) and pueblo will participate in the Friday processions. These societies, (except the angels) as well as the oficios for the Pahko’ola and Deer Dance Society will participate in the weekend ceremonials. The oficios for the Pahko’ola and Deer Dance Societies are noted above. The Lenten activities last for seven weeks. The ceremonials begin early Saturday morning and culminate on Sunday afternoon. They members of the above societies will participate in their own respective communities. When Lent is over, the oficios (Pahko’olas & Deer Dancer) will usually remain in the Hiaki communities until the Holy Cross ceremonies are over. These are described below.
May 2: The Feast of the Holy Cross (Santa Cruz Pahko): This ceremony occurs on May 2nd. However, the Vespers (Vispera) are usually offered the night prior to the actual Holy Cross ceremony. This is an all-night ceremony where the oficios (Pahko’ola and Deer Dance Societies) as well as the Prayer Leaders will participate. The ceremony ends on Sunday, around midday (depends on the community)
June 24th: St John Feast Day (San Juan Pahko): This feast will begin around the 24th of June. Ceremonial people from Sonora are usually requested to come to Arizona prior to San Juan’s day in order to participate in the Vespers (Vispera) ceremony which begins one day prior to the actual ceremony.
June 30: San Ignatius Feast Day (Fiesta de San Ignacio): This ceremony is celebrated in Old Pascua in Tucson. The Vespers (Vispera) occurs a day earlier or it may begin that same day, hours earlier. The Prayer Leaders, Kantoras, Kiyohteis as well as the oficios (Pasko’ola and Deer Dance Group) will participate in this ceremony. This is an overnight ceremony which will culminate midday on Sunday, depending on the community.
August 8: Feast Day of Our Lord of Miracles (Fiesta del Senor de Los Milagros): This ceremony is celebrated at the church of Senor de Los Milagros located at the corner of 16th and 44th St. in Tucson. Ceremonial participants may be asked to arrive a day early in order to participate in the Vespers (Vispera) which occurs one day early on Friday. The Prayer Leaders, Kantoras and the oficios from the Pahko’ola and Deer Dance Soceities usually participate in this ceremony. The ceremony culminates on Sunday at midday.
September 18: Pascua Yaqui Tribe Recognition Day: On this day the Pascua Yaqui Tribe celebrates its annual Federal Tribal Recognition Day activities. Prayer Leaders, Kantoras, and the oficios from the Pahko’ola and Deer Dance societies participate in this activity. This is a one day activity which culminates around midnight of that same day.
October 1: Month of the Return of the Spirits of the Deceased: During this month, beginning on the 1st of October, the Prayer Leaders and the Kantoras will offer prayers for the spirits of the Deceased beginning on the 1st Monday of the month and continuing each Monday of the entire month of October. These prayers are usually offered at the local community church.
November 1: All Souls Day: On this day some traditional families will set a table in their private residences and ask the Prayer Leaders and the Kantoras to offer prayers for the spirits of the deceased. This activity begins at midday and continues through the night. All the Hiaki communities celebrate this activity.
November 2: All Saints Day: The Prayer Leaders and Kantoras, as well as the Matachinim (Matachin Society dancers) participate in offering prayers at the local cemeteries. This ceremony begins early in the morning and lasts through midnight. It is celebrated in New Pascua and Guadalupe.
October/Nov: St. Jude Feast (Fiesta de San Judas): This Saint day is cerebrated by families during these months. Prayer Leaders, Kantoras, Kiyohteis and the oficios (Pahko’ola and Deer Dance Societies) participate in this fiesta. This is an all night ceremony.
December: Our Lady of Guadalupe (Itom Ae Waalupe): This ceremony is celebrated in all five communities as well as at the private residences of our community members throughout the month of December. The actual feast day is December 12th. The Prayer Leaders, Kantoras and oficios (Pahko’ola and Deer Dance societies) are involved in this ceremonial which traditionally lasts throughout the night. Vespers are also offered one day prior to the actual Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Vespers would take place on the 11th of December.


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  • 2009 Lenten Schedule
  • Ceremony Locations
  • Regulations for Lent
  • Visitor Etiquette
  • Ceremonies of the Yoeme
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