- Folk religion
Folk religion consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of an organized religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices. Don Yoder has defined "folk religion" as "the totality of all those views and practices of religion that exist among the people apart from and alongside the strictly theological and liturgical forms of the official religion."
The term "folk religion" is generally held to encompass two related but separate subjects. The first is the religious dimension of folk culture, or the folk-cultural dimensions of religion. The second refers to the study of syncretisms between two cultures with different stages of formal expression, such as the melange of African folk beliefs and Roman Catholicism that led to the development of Vodun and Santería, and similar mixtures of formal religions with folk cultures.
Chinese folk religion, Folk Christianity, Folk Hinduism, and Folk Islam are examples of folk religion associated with major religions. There is sometimes tension between the practice of folk religion and the formally taught doctrines and teachings of a faith. In other cases, practices that originated in folk religion are adopted as part of the official religion. The term is also used, especially by the clergy of the faiths involved, to describe the desire of people who otherwise infrequently attend religious worship, do not belong to a church or similar religious society, and who have not made a formal profession of faith in a particular creed, to have religious weddings or funerals, or (among Christians) to have their children baptised.
Aspects of many, but not all, folk religions include:
- Popular theophanies, and similar phenomena like Marian apparitions, originating outside the formal liturgy and hierarchy of the faiths in question.
- magical thinking
- Protective qualities ascribed to religious objects like a particular copy of the Bible, Voodoo pouches, a crucifix, stones, crystals, eagle feathers, or any other "power" object.
- belief in traditional systems of magic (hoodoo, voodoo, pow-wow, Benedicaria, Palo Monte, Anito, Santería and Catimbó)
- rituals to ward off the Evil Eye, curses, demons, witchcraft, etc.
Folk Christianity is defined differently by various scholars. Definitions include "the Christianity practiced by a conquered people;" Christianity as most people live it – a term used to "overcome the division of beliefs into Orthodox and unorthodox;" Christianity as impacted by superstition as practiced by certain geographical Christian groups; Christianity defined "in cultural terms without reference to the theologies and histories."
Folk Islam is an umbrella term used to collectively describe the native folk beliefs, superstitions, and practices of various cultures blended with Islam. Folk Islam has been described as the Islam of the "urban poor, country people, and tribes", in contrast to orthodox or "High" Islam.
Folk Islam may include:
- belief in traditional magic systems and ecstatic rituals
- use of devotional shrines and amulets
- veneration of saints
- incorporation of animistic beliefs
The case of Folk Hinduism lies slightly different from "Folk Islam" or "Folk Christianity", as the term Hinduism itself was coined in the 19th century as an umbrella term for all folk religion practiced in India. But today, "Folk Hinduism" (also Indian Folk Religion or Popular Hinduism) may still be distinguished from "high" forms of Hindu philosophy, or mystical or ascetic forms. Folk Hinduism is emphatically polytheistic.
- Appalachian Granny Magic
- Civil religion
- Cunning folk
- Ethnoreligious group
- Folk medicine
- Magic and religion
- Popular piety
- Pre-Christian Alpine traditions
- Thunderstone (folklore)
- Veneration of the dead
- Prehistoric religion
- Perceptions of religious imagery in natural phenomena
- Faith healing
- ^ a b Bowman, Marion (2004). "Chapter 1: Phenomenology, Fieldwork, and Folk Religion". In Sutcliffe, Steven. Religion: empirical studies. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. pp. 3–4. ISBN 0754641589. http://books.google.com/books?id=BU2BSj4dcHMC&pg=PA3&dq=%22folk+religion%22.
- ^ Yoder, Don (Januuary 1974). "Toward a Definition of Folk Religion". Western Folklore 33 (1): 1–15.
- ^ Don Yoder, "Toward a Definition of Folk Religion", above
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- Folk Christianity in the Philippines
- "Myths over Miami": an account of the folk religion of children living in homeless shelters in Miami, circa 1997.
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