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Intergalactic Pachamama: Kichwa Cosmology vs. Western Astrophysics

Tuesday, July 3, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Stephen Stuempfle
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Intergalactic Pachamama: Kichwa Cosmology vs. Western Astrophysics
By Jessie M. Vallejo and Jorge G. F. Moreno Soto
Folklife, June 21, 2018

Today on the summer solstice, millions of people all over the world celebrate this celestial holiday in unique cultural ways. In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice usually occurs on June 21, when the Earth’s northern pole is at its maximum tilt toward the sun.

One way that this midsummer event is celebrated in Ecuador is Hatun Puncha (also called Inti Raymi), a time when Kichwa-Otavaleños (Indigenous people from the northern Andes) gather to make music and dance. The music lasts for several days, and musician-dancers follow a special spiral pattern as they move from one village house to the next.

Jorge and I are professors in fields of study that may seem galaxies apart. Although he’s a theoretical astrophysicist and I’m an ethnomusicologist, our shared identities as new Latinx university faculty drew us together.

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Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage.

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