Art and Tradition

Examples of Syncretism

What does syncretism mean?

This term is used to define the union, mixture and fusion between two or more manifestations of a cultural or religious nature. This event occurs due to various circumstances involving historical, space and time aspects. Usually the syncretism accommodates new manifestations , these are assimilated slowly until it became a tradition. They are characterized by having diverse elements, these mixtures are usually found in gastronomy , architecture, music and even in fashion.

For its part, in the religious sphere, the hybridization of traditional festivals and cults also occurs. It is important to clarify that religious syncretism is not something that occurs overnight, it does not arise unexpectedly. On the contrary, it appears and develops slowly. Is this transition characterized by their quality adaptation, cults and traditions involved are obliged to resolve any differences. It is necessary, for the subsistence of both, to achieve a point of balance and harmony.

Now, it is important to mention that syncretism manifests itself when two or more ideas, symbols and parties meet in a given space and time. That is, when the essence of one manifestation is shared with another and they come together, adapt and transform each other. The term comes from the Greek synkretismós, it was used to describe the union and brotherhood of the Cretan people and culture. Today syncretism is associated with other words such as mixture, fusion and union.

Types of Syncretism

  • Cultural: Cultural syncretism manifests itself when more than two cultures are forced to coexist permanently. This continuous coexistence between customs, traditions , ideas and ways of thinking gives rise to the mixture and fusion. It can appear as a necessity or as a forced act. In the first case, it occurs when two cultures need to be mutually supportive to guarantee their replacement. In the second case, one new culture is introduced over another through conquest or invasion.
  • Artistic: In art, syncretism occurs alongside transculturalization. For this reason, it can be appreciated during various periods of art history that more than two aesthetic modes are used. This occurs as a need to express the roots together with the grafts, that is, syncretism is manifested in the creation of a new style.
  • Religious: It is said that the great religions that have a single god as their center of belief are the result of multiple transitions and syncretism processes. The story tells how the gods of antiquity were transforming and unifying into a single god. In the same way, it happens that with the ways of worshiping and honoring said god, it has been hybridizing and changing.
  • Political: In politics the use of syncretism has not been considered as something entirely functional. However, attempts are still being made to unify and find a balance between certain ideologies, generally of opposite positions. Political syncretism focuses and aims to create a comprehensive model of thought and ideology.

Examples of Syncretism

  • In the case of the invasion of Rome to Greece, a process of syncretism occurred that generated the Greco-Roman culture.
  • The Spanish invasion of America produced a process of syncretism in which European culture was imposed.
  • Populism is considered in the political sphere a union between the ideology of the left and the right.
  • The art Mexican and Aztec used his aesthetic reasons linked to issues of the Catholic Church.
  • The linking of the god Osiris with the ox Apis occurred in a process of syncretism.
  • The mestizo race arose from a process of syncretism between European, Asian, American and African cultures.

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