hopi carved chili pepper racer katsina doll

old style Hopi cricket racer katsina dollA time of joy and excitement, Kwiyamuya coincides with the month of April and the beginning of the growing season. As fruit trees begin to bud and weeds begin to spring up in the fields, the Hopi people start to prepare the fields for planting and racer Katsinam arrive in the villages.

There are many different racer Katsinam that appear during Kwiyamuya, including the Dragonfly, the Rattle, and the Chipmunk. These spiritual beings challenge the men and boys in each village to footraces across the village, teasing losers by throwing water on them, smearing grease on their faces, or performing other unpleasant activities. Each individual racer has a particular consequence for those he wins a race against, with the Dragonfly smearing corn smut on his victims, the Chili Pepper making losers eat peppers, and the Handprint slapping those he defeats with a black handprint.

Regardless of whether you win or lose your race against a Katsina, a gift of food will be given along with a blessing for a healthy life.  After the races are over, the Katsinam head home, taking with them the peoples’ prayers for rain and a fertile growing season.

Home to an awesome collection of Hopi Katsina dolls, Kachina House has many Racer dolls in our collection. Visit us online to view Katsina dolls and other Native American arts and crafts we have for sale or give us a call at 866-587-0547 for help finding a particular item!