Marc Simmons: Pueblo burials mixed non-Native beliefs

"As a common New Mexico folk saying goes, De la muerte y de la suerte, no hay quien se escape. That is, none among us can escape our fate or death.

Early-day New Mexicans, both Spanish and American Indian, adhered to age-old practices dealing with death and funerals.

The early burial registers of the Catholic Church reveal some of the common causes leading to loss of life. They include accidents, disease (especially smallpox epidemics), war wounds, attacks by bears, snakebite and lightning strikes.

An odd fatality was reported by Fray Diego Martínez in 1798. One of his parishioners had killed himself while participating in a game called El Torderito, probably similar to Russian roulette.

Parsons who had warning that the end was near prepared their wills. The faithful believed that doing so properly resulted in spiritual benefits. "

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Traildust: Early-day New Mexico burial rites borrowed from past (The Santa Fe New Mexicn 5/28)

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