California is experiencing a proliferation of public religious celebrations like never before. The authors focus on four public celebrations: the throwing of colors during Holi, an annual pilgrimage to Manzanar, the Peruvian celebration of El Señor de Los Milagros, and Noche de Altares. Even as these and many other similar festivals simultaneously represent the irruption and interruption of the sacred in the public sphere, these festivals reflect the multi-religious character of immigration. These public rituals say something about the pursuit of belonging in California and in the United States within an increasingly diverse and multicultural landscape. Those who participate together as intimate strangers are often seeking only a temporary affiliation, perhaps a place for a moment to engage one another beyond the context of the marketplace. In sharing in these religious and cross-cultural experiences, participants become enmeshed in the complicated and vibrant diversity of California, up close and personal, as physical as the bodies encountered there.
Take it Outside: Practicing religion in public
Jennifer Scheper Hughes is associate professor of history at University of California, Riverside. Her current research focuses on the impact of mass death by epidemic disease on New World Christianity as well as Latino religious practices in Southern California.
James Kyung-Jin Lee is associate professor and chair of the Asian American studies department at University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Urban Triage: Race and the Fictions of Multiculturalism.
Amanda Lucia is associate professor of religious studies at University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace and at work on a book entitled American Yogis: Play, Representation, and Authenticity.
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Jennifer Scheper Hughes, James Kyung-Jin Lee, Amanda Lucia, S.Romi Mukherjee; Take it Outside: Practicing religion in public. Boom 1 December 2015; 5 (4): 54–63. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2015.5.4.54
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