Birds of Rain in Latin America: Invoking the Sacred Through Sound and Image

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 10:45
, Nicole - Sally Glean Center

Around the world certain birds are associated with water and rain due to their behavior, appearance, or role in myths, ceremonies and key events. In Latin America “rain birds” are particularly important for their connection to life-giving water, mountain streams, fertility and renewal. In Costa Rica the clay-colored robin is said to “call the rains” at the end of the dry season. In Peru the condor and the kestrel are depicted in textiles, ceramics, and gold for their associations with not only death and hunting but also with storm clouds and rain. In the pampas of Bolivia and Argentina, the rhea appears in ancient paintings on cave walls and still figures centrally in contemporary dances. What makes these birds so exemplary? The answer can be found by examining the cultural context for these portrayals in the archeological record and contemporary rituals, even when rain associations are not obviously invoked.