The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center is an open-air folklife museum and research center dedicated to preserving and celebrating Pennsylvania German folk culture, history, and language in a unique educational setting at Kutztown University.

Powwowing in Pennsylvania: Healing Rituals of The Dutch Country


Presented by Patrick J. Donmoyer

This presentation explores the historical and cultural roots of traditional customs, rituals, and folkways known among the Pennsylvania Dutch as Braucherei, or powwowing. Drawing upon the speaker’s personal and family experiences with the tradition, as well a particular emphasis placed on manuscript pieces found commonly in family bibles, ledgers, and personal papers, audiences will be introduced to a wide range of ritual applications of prayers and processes used primarily for the healing and protection of humans and their domesticated animals. Images of ritual objects, original manuscripts, and written blessings, will demonstrate the broad-reaching scope of folk customs in Pennsylvania throughout four centuries and into the present day. Donmoyer is the author of Powwowing in Pennsylvania: Braucherei & The Ritual of Everyday Life (2018).

Presentation featured at the Berks Country Fest, June 20, 2020.