The Curing Woman Historical Context

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Curanderismo is the Mexican American system of folk healing. The word comes from the Spanish word curar, which means "to heal." Curanderismo has a long history, and it is still practiced in the twenty-first century in Mexican American communities, as an alternative system of healthcare to mainstream Western medicine.

Historically curanderismo has evolved through many influences. It incorporates practices that go back to Arabic medicine introduced in medieval Spain. (The Spanish connection is emphasized in "The Curing Woman," since it is in Spain that Marcelina's mother accumulates her knowledge of healing.) The Arabic practices were brought to Central America by the Spanish conquerors in the sixteenth century. The Spanish also brought Christianity with them, which is another major influence on curanderismo. The curandera (female healer) or curandero (male healer) may utilize symbols and rituals drawn from Christianity (for example, Doña Marcelina prays and makes the...

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This section contains 892 words
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The Curing Woman from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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