Ritual Healing Traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch: A Talk with Patrick Donmoyer

$10 Adults, $8 Seniors/Students with ID, free for Museum Members.

As an expression of faith and identity, cultures throughout the world engage in ritual as an effective means to create and define meaningful interactions, spaces and outcomes. This talk will explore the historical and cultural roots of traditional customs, rituals, and folkways known among the Pennsylvania Dutch as Braucherei, or powwowing. Blessings, inscriptions, objects, and procedures will provide an overview of ritual traditions used primarily for the healing and protection of humans and their domesticated animals. Descriptions of powwowing throughout three centuries will demonstrate the ways in which ritual is still very much an active force in the present, human endeavor to heal physical and existential concerns and satisfy the hunger for meaning in everyday life.

Patrick Donmoyer, formerly of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, is the Director at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University, a folklife museum and research center on the Kutztown Campus. A fluent speaker of Pennsylvania Dutch and advocate for regional folk culture, Patrick’s work blends language, ritual traditions, and vernacular architecture in his folklife research. He is the author of numerous articles, and two books, the most recent of which is entitled "Hex Signs: Myth and Meaning in Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Stars" (2013), as well as "Der Freund in der Noth, or The Friend in Need: An Annotated Translation of an Early Pennsylvania Folk-Healing Manual" (2012). He also edited the posthumous work of Dr. Don Yoder, Father of the American Folklife Studies movement, entitled: "The German Bible in America" (2016), as well as the 25th Anniversary Edition of Dr. Yoder's folklife manifesto, "Discovering American Folklife" (2015), and dedicated an exhibition catalog entitled "Powwowing in Pennsylvania" (2015) to the legacy of Dr. Yoder. He is currently completing a forthcoming book, lecture series, and traveling exhibition on the ritual traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch.