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Folk religion: Wikis


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Folk religion consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of an organized religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices.[1] Don Yoder has defined "folk religion" as "the totality of all those views and practices of religion that exist among the people apart from and alongside the strictly theological and liturgical forms of the official religion."[2]

Folk religion includes the syncretic blending of indigenous religion with organised religion.[citation needed]

Folk Christianity, Folk Hinduism, and Folk Islam are examples of folk religion associated with major religions.

There is sometimes tension between the practice of folk religion and the formally taught doctrines and teachings of a faith.[citation needed] In other cases, practices that originated in folk religion are adopted as part of the official religion.[citation needed]

The term is also used, especially by the clergy of the faiths involved, to describe the desire of people who otherwise infrequently attend religious worship, do not belong to a church or similar religious society, and who have not made a formal profession of faith in a particular creed, to have religious weddings or funerals, or (among Christians) to have their children baptised.[1]


Examples of folk religion

Appearances of religious figures

Popular theophanies, and similar phenomena like Marian apparitions, originating outside the formal liturgy and hierarchy of the faiths in question.

Power or protective objects

Protective qualities ascribed to religious objects like a particular copy of the Bible, Voodoo pouches, a crucifix, stones, crystals, eagle feathers, or any other "power" object.


Faith healing

See also


  1. ^ a b Bowman, Marion (2004). "Chapter 1: Phenomenology, Fieldwork, and Folk Religion". in Sutcliffe, Steven. Religion: empirical studies. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. pp. 3-4. ISBN 0754641589. 
  2. ^ Yoder, Don (Januuary 1974). "Toward a Definition of Folk Religion". Western Folklore 33 (1): 1-15. 

Further reading

  • Thomas, Keith, Religion and the Decline of Magic. Studies in popular beliefs in sixteenth and seventeenth century England, London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson (1971).
  • Nepstad, Sharon Erickson. 1996. “Popular Religion, Protest, and Revolt: The Emergence of Political Insurgency in the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran Churches of the 1960s-80s,” in Disruptive Religion: The Force of Faith in Social Movement Activism, by Christian Smith. New York: Routledge.
  • Nash, June. 1996. "Religious Rituals of Resistance and Class Consciousness in Bolivian Tin-Mining Communities," in Disruptive Religion: The Force of Faith in Social Movement Activism, by Christian Smith. New York: Routledge.

External links

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