In anthropology and sociology, “syncretism” means combining elements from different cultures to make something new. For example, Christmas as celebrated in Europe and North America combines ideas from Egypt and the Near East (monotheism, the birth of an infant who will grow up to be the savior) with winter solstice observances from northern Europe (Yule log, candles, holly, and the date itself). Examples in racial and ethnic relations are legion. Plains Indian cultures combined Native American ideas with Spanish horses and horse culture. Jazz combines European instruments, notation, and musical ideas with instruments, vocal practices, and musical ideas from West Africa to form a sound that is uniquely American. Inuit silk screens combine Inuit artistic ideas with Euro-American printmaking techniques. Syncretism
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