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Sample Essay on Syncretism

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Sample Essay on Syncretism

Syncretism is the merging of different cultural practices obtained from different cultures to generate a new cultural trend. The process involves maintaining the key pre-existing traits which are distinct to one’s culture and synthesizing it with new traits encountered through cultural contact.

            During the colonial expansion era, the presence of slave trade led to generation of syncretism elements, which are; the formation of new languages, development of new religious practices and churches, and the rise of new cultures. These colonial effects can even be portrayed in the current American culture. The Native American culture was integrated with British and African culture aspects. For instance, African slaves and Americans developed pidgins to be used as a means of communication. Also, the development of new identities like African Americans and the blending of religious practices like Christianity.

            American culture is really spreading in the Middle East countries in the current days. The presence of US military officers in Iran and Afghanistan has lead to synthesis of the native countries’ culture with American culture aspects. The Middle East people who are mostly associated with Islam are adopting aspects of Christianity and other cultural aspects like ways of dressing, and gender roles, primarily on women.

            In consideration of syncretism in the past and the modern times, we notice that both of them involve integrations of two or more cultures, which in turn generate a new way of living. The two types of syncretism are observed to affect the same elements of culture, for example, religion. However, in the modern syncretism the focus is on how to achieve self-realization, self-fulfillment and simply be happy whereas the ancient syncretism focused mainly on the whole community.

In the modern era cultural syncretism can be portrayed in the Kwanzaa festival which is usually celebrated during the charismas period and it involves; African, American and pan-African cultures.

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