In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Friday, October 15, 2010

Abducted Lamanite Daughters/Hopi Lakon, Maraw, and Owaqolt ceremonies.

Have you ever wondered while reading Mosiah Chapter 20 why the Lamanite daughters that were abducted by the Priests of Noah were dancing in the wilderness? I have considered this a few times myself. In my studies of the Hopi culture I ran into the some ceremonies that I found quite intriguing because of what I had read in Mosiah. I was surprised even more to hear Hugh Nibley correlate these ceremonies with this same chapter in Mosiah. In Mosiah chapter 20 in a place called Shemlon the Lamanite daughters gathered themselves to sing dance and make themselves merry. It tells that eventually the Priests of Noah who had been keeping an eye on these daughters of the Lamanites eventually abducted 24 of them.

During the months following the snake ceremony the Hopi women hold three ceremonies. According to Hugh Nibley and Tom Cryers these festivals which generally follow the pattern of all ceremonials and derive from temple times when the maidens of Jerusalem, all dressed in white, went in the vineyards close to the city and danced and sang in a circle of the Day of Atonement, the time when an opportunity was offered to young men to select their companions for life. The ceremonies are four days long, as was the customary lament of virginity practiced by the daughters of Israel. The women erect elaborate altars, have kiva ceremonies, and dance in the plaza.

The first is called Lakon which is based on the theme of rain, corn and fertility of women. Songs are sung with desires for impregnation and motherhood. The primary emphasis of Lakon is how the village is blessed by women. Without going into too much detail the next is the Maraw. In the plaza performance, a pair of virgins, hoping for marriage, throws food to the spectators from inside a singing circle of women holding cornstalks.

The final women’s celebration, called Owaqolt, has the establishment of marriage as its theme. The culmination of this celebration is the tossing of gifts from a circle of maidens who wear headdresses that have a horn hair do on the right and a squash blossom one on the left and who have their faces and feet painted yellow like the Mayan and Aztec brides. These female celebrations are meant to impress upon the mind the blessings brought forth by mother earth and womankind.

This goes to show that the Lamanite daughters were more than likely performing ceremonies similar in meaning and actions to these performed by the Hopi women. Parts of the above three ceremonies are actually performed in the wilderness away from the actual village. Because they are held in the same general time frame each year it would make sense why the Priests of Noah would know when to expect the daughters to be alone in the wilderness and ripe for abduction.

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