I define syncretism as the combination of cultures, rituals, and/or traditions. When I think of syncretism in Ecuador, religion is usually the only thing that comes to mind. The combinations of Catholicism and indigenous tradition come together to create something unique and specific to la gente aquí.
It’s interesting to think about this phenomenon, specifically because I automatically want to assign it as “good” or “bad.” It seems bad because older traditions/cultures were squashed and “whitened,” and stems from the ever fruitful legacy of imperialism/colonialism. On the other hand, it doesn’t have to be seen necessarily as bad. Instead of completely eliminating a culture or tradition, at least a part of the past remains conserved and helps to ensure identity. But then again, I also think about how symbols were used to “help” make their indigenous people understand “Jesus” for example.
I generally think of this in a bad light, but it’s also interesting that parts of their own culture were changed and made into something different, and thus the people might have been easier to control or convince to convert to catholicism or christianity. All in all, its a very complicated phenomenon that I want to learn more about.