The Grand Canyon Of Arizona: How To See It By George Wharton James






































































































































 -  It appears elsewhere,* and forms the burden of the
sixteen dramatic songs sung in the secrecy of the underground ceremonial - Page 187
The Grand Canyon Of Arizona: How To See It By George Wharton James - Page 187 of 322 - First - Home

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It Appears Elsewhere,* And Forms The Burden Of The Sixteen Dramatic Songs Sung In The Secrecy Of The Underground Ceremonial Kivas Of The Snake And Antelope Clans, In The Nine Days Of Preliminary Ceremonial, Which Culminate In The Open-Air Public Dance.

* See Indians of the Pointed Desert Region.

Antelope Race and Corn Scramble. There are two other ceremonies connected with the Snake Dance that may be witnessed by all who like. These are the antelope race and the corn scramble. The former takes place on the morning of the eighth day before sunrise. Though apparently a mere test of athletic ability, it is in reality a religious ceremonial. For centuries, the Hopi lived surrounded by warlike people who preyed upon them. Being few in number, living in a desert land, and beset by murderous marauders, fleetness of foot and great "staying" powers while running over the long trails of the sandy deserts became an essential condition of national preservation. Hence the priests made the cultivation of the bodily powers a matter of religion. Every youth was compelled to exercise to the utmost. The result is a fine athletic development. Each year many great races are run, and two of the chief of these are at the Snake Dance, there being a race on both the eighth and ninth mornings.

At the end of that fierce race across the hot sands and up the steep mesa, the winner exultantly stands before the chief priests. The lightning bearer then throws the zigzag symbols over him, and rain clouds are pictured at his feet.

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