When Christianity moved out of the monotheistic Arabian desert context it had a marketing problem in that the potential "customers" were more comfortable
with a pantheon of gods, and a father god without a mother god was inconcievable.
One result was the Virgin Mary was given an upgrade to the status to mother goddess.
As a local example, this island has about 40 municipalities, and 40 sites where "Mary" has a cult shrine.
Note that this is a coincidence of numbers because these do not coincide. My village has one, of Templar origin, but "Algaida" (same word as "Al Caida") has three
on the same mountain) and though to the south, Montuiri, has none to Mary, it has two others of pagan origin "Mount of Iris" is the village, and near by St Michael´s
Mount (think Mt San Michele in France, and St Michael´s mount inEngland). You see with local gods, they merely made them into saints.
They also recycled them. Our church has 21 chapels, each with its own cult, and prenapoleanic social service. For example in the farmer´s chapel, are two recycled
Persian weather gods, now saints Synon and Abdon. Gods they could not accomodate they made into dimonis, witches, fairies. One more famous of these was recycled from a village
here, simply substitute Indian shepherd for Magrebi shepherd. Mount Tepeyak, now within Mexico city, is shaped like a breast and was an Aztec earth mother site, and is a major Mexican
pilgrimage site under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who protects her people. Ironicly, the largest Amercan auto insurance company, All State, in Mexico is Tepeyak.
We never had the Reformation, which had three different results. Little change in Catholic countries, separation of pagan ritual form orthodox christianity as in England where
Morris dancing was moved from the church to the bar and village green, or in mixed Protestant-Catholic regions where they were down graded to Disney like big heads for Carnival.
In Algaida the big ritual day is St Honorat. During the offertory of the mass, "Morris dancers" (similar costume to England, bells on their legs) dance up the aisle waving sprigs of
basil, which the priest takes and blesses, and distibutes to the congregation to put in their hair, or button hole. After mass they ritually kill the dimoni, then repeat the ritual at
all the village boundary crosses to keep them safe for another year. In my village we run through fire.
Here, every Mallorquin is supposed to make a "haj" to Lluc, our spiritual umbilicus in the mountains, it has a "magic" virgin. While "Lluc" is our way of saying "Luke" in this case it has nothing to
do with the evangelist, but a Latin word for a sacred grove in preChristian times. It does not matter when one goes, but one should walk from home. The big event is the 9 days (novena) before the
first day of school, when people start walking as early as noon on Saturday from distant villages, picking up people on the way, walking all night and arriving via three paths around 08:00 on Sunday
morning (this year there were 10,000 - looked like a bunch of Syrians trying to get into Europe. Gegants also go with augmented teams. The usual is 6 portadors three alternating for each gegant. but on
this occasion my village had 30 to make the 16 hour trip, carry 15 minutes, rest for 2 hours.
The "castells" serve two purposes they are phalic symbols (note that in the forecourt of St Peter´s in Rome is an obelisc, which serves the same purpose, as do may poles. Note that we don´t
have many trees here, so there is a military use, for quietly climbing fortifications. There are 150 teams between here (Balearics - ancient kingdom of Mallorca), Valencia, Catalunya, Rousillon (France).
The minors go up to 7 levels, majors up to 10. both our minor teams have reached 8, but they always collapse, and many majors have had the same problem with 11 - see clip attached.
Last Saturday, my team came in second with a 7, but the visiting team (major) from Vilafranca de Penedes (Catalunya) did two of 8. Here is one of their falls, the word for which translates
"firewood" (think match sticks) I am sending another clip, to give more context. A major festa is a novena, 9 days starting at sundown on a Friday and ending at sundown on a Sunday a week later.
This one for St Tecla, shows several pagan elements including morris type dancing and castells.
The third clip is a joke illustrating the "military" uses based on the joke, "how many x does it take to change a light bulb".
[you might want to let the one above segue into similar ones attached]