Definition of kachina
1 : one of the deified ancestral spirits believed among the Hopi and other Pueblo Indians to visit the pueblos at intervals
2 : one of the elaborately masked kachina impersonators that dance at agricultural ceremonies
3 : a doll representing a kachina
Kachina and the Pueblo Indians
A kachina is an ancestral spirit of the Pueblo Indians. There are more than 500 of these spirits, and they act as intermediaries between humans and the gods. Each tribe has its own kachinas, which are believed to reside with a tribe for half of each year. They can be seen by the community if men properly perform a ritual while wearing kachina masks. The spirit depicted on the mask is thought to be actually present with the performer, temporarily transforming him. Kachinas are also represented by small wooden dolls, carved and decorated by the men of the tribe.
Origin and Etymology of kachina
First Known Use: 1888See Words from the same year
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up kachina? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).