The most highly developed North American festival system is that of the Hopi or Moqui of Arizona, the observances of which are almost of a theatrical nature. All the Pueblo Indians, of whom the Hopi are a division, possess similar festivals, which recur at various seasons or under the auspices of different totem clans or secret societies. Most of these 'dances' are arranged by the Katcina clan, and take place in dance-houses known as kivas. These ceremonies have their origin in the universal reverence shown to the serpent in America—a reverence based on the idea that the symbol of the serpent, tail in mouth, represented the round, full sun of August. In the summer 'dances' snake-charming feats are performed, but in the Katcina ceremony serpents are never employed.
Devil-dances are by no means uncommon among the Indians. The purpose of these is to drive evil spirits from the vicinity of the tribe.