main elements of african traditional religion

In African traditional religions the cosmogony (theory of the origin of the universe) usually describes humans appearing near the end of creation. The major focus of the book is discussing the need for studying ATR in twenty-first-century Africa whereby globalization and multi-culture are prominent phenomena. For instance, ancestors often attain their status after they have received proper burial rituals. Leaders in African traditional religions are the people who impart religious wisdom and guidance to believers. With the advent of Islam and Christianity in Africa—and the widespread conversion to these two monotheistic traditions—the numbers of adherents to African religions dwindled. It is forbidden in most places for the young to disobey the elders. Every aspect of it cannot be described as original. Some of the academic priests, including Parrinder, Father Placid Temple, and Zaireois V. Mulago, were influenced by the inclusive views of liberal theology developed by Protestant and Catholic academic theologians in North American and European universities. In Yoruba religion, for example, each deity has West African Religion: A Study of the Beliefs and Practices of Akan, Ewe, Yoruba, Ibo, and Kindred Peoples. Accordingly, dietary prohibitions and peculiarities are associated with the deceased and the diets of those who inhabit the heavenly world. An example is the northern Yatenga society (of western Africa). They always involve larger groups of people or entire communities. Although the Supreme God is a creator god, the work of creating the universe, especially when such acts entail physical labor, is often delegated to subordinates who act according to the Supreme God's instructions. Various roles carry distinct names in West African languages. . Beginning in the late twentieth century hundreds of African Americans embraced Yoruba traditions by founding the Kingdom of Oyotunji African Village near the city of Sheldon, South Carolina. Encyclopedias almanacs transcripts and maps, Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices. At such shrines the living may communicate with the departed person; the family may also convey messages to God through the deceased. Numerous scholars in diverse fields of interest carry out studies of African religions. Similarly, the name for a medicine healer is sumãnkwafo, amawato, onisegun, and dibia. Religion is so intimately tied to place that African religions do not give themselves easily to the influence of exogenous groups. Africa 51, no. All traditional religious practices incorporate ritual, although the forms vary greatly from region to region, ethnic group to ethnic group, and even from individual to individual within the same religious tradition. By the 1930s colonial governments in Africa had opened several colleges (as offshoots of European institutions) across the continent. E-mail Citation » Scholarly articles on Islam and on Christian and non-Christian religious diasporas. Because the gods and ancestors created the society's ideals, people are highly reluctant to stray from them. In traditional African cultures marriage, raising children, and fulfilling familial obligations are religious duties. For indigenous African peoples "history" often refers to accounts of events as narrated in stories, myths, legends, and songs. Individuals or groups of people practice divination in order to discern the meanings and consequences of past, present, and future events. Shrines are often established above familial and ancestral gravesites; the grave itself may also serve as a shrine. Its various indigenous spiritual systems, usually called African traditional religions, are many. An injured toe means that a visit will be dreadful. 12 Jan. 2021 . During these events usually an offering is made to honour, please and thank the ancestors. command over the others. The data comes from the Pew Research Center and it shows that Christians make up 50.9% of Africa’s population, followed by … ——. Cole, H.M. (1982). The Supreme God may also be seen as a divine principle embodying the idea of life abundance and the blessings of human procreation and agricultural fertility. For example, in the Ba Kongo (a group of peoples who live in the Congo and Angola) and Kaguru (an ethnic group of Tanzania) societies, the elders are closest to the ancestors, and they wield much influence on how to consult and propitiate them. The first Africans who arrived on North American shores brought their own religious worldviews with them…, The African diaspora is a term that refers to the dispersal of African peoples to form a distinct, transnational community. Journal of Religion in Africa. Rites of passage are particularly important in the religious use of arts. This occurred especially in Brazil, Peru, Cuba, Trinidad, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and other locations where African populations were extensive. Priests and priestesses are natural leaders because they are in direct service to God and dedicate themselves to the deities for life. In some other groups notions of ancestors are more expansive and may include various categories of human spirits; in others ancestors include spirits of deceased children. African traditional religions have creatively responded to this religious onslaught by formulating new ways of survival, such as developing literature, institutionalizing the traditions, establishing associations of priests, and creating schools for the training of its priests. Devotees of traditional religions awakened to the possibility of losing their faith, and to compensate they extended the criteria for membership. The first academic studies of African traditional religions were written in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries by Muslim and European scholars. Nehanda, considered an incarnation of an oracle spirit, was eventually hanged by colonial authorities in 1898. Among many African ethnic groups, however, some sets of oral narratives exist that serve as sacred texts. A new wave of conversion to indigenous African traditions has been noticeable in the United States, especially among African Americans. The diviner holds the chain by the middle and throws it on a mat, making a U shape, so that four nuts fall on each side of the mat. They relied on the backing of European medicinal remedies and colonial military power. Although most body art carries little association with Ògún (the Yoruba god of iron), raised-scarification design has been associated with Ògún because Yoruba body artists traditionally use iron implements to create intricate patterns and shapes on the skin. Although their inquiries were fraught with bias, some outsiders were more reliable than others. The Bambara fear that the death of a lineage head may disturb the entire lineage. Participants are taught about their people's beliefs, history, and traditions as well as about raising a family, the secrets of marriage, and other practical information. Initiation ceremonies occur most commonly during puberty. New and returning customers must register to create a new account. In some cultures the pair's kinship bond may signify the unity of divine energy. FOUNDED: 200,000–100,000 b.c.e.RELIGION AS A PERCENTAGE OF WORLD POPULATION: 1.3 percent. In the African traditional religions, the main beliefs are, God, the divinities, spirits and ancestors. At times supreme gods are understood to be females and males who complement each other as husband and wife or brother and sister, similar to Mawu-Lisa in the religion of the Fon of Benin. Graves play a more important religious role for farming communities than for pastoralists, who are constantly moving from one place to another. Using some illustrations from Nyumbanitu worship shrine located at Njombe in Tanzania, the book purports that there is a need to understand African people's worldview, their understanding of God, their religious values, symbols and rituals in order to enhance meaningful dialogue between Christianity and African people's current worldview. WELCOME TO OUR NEW WEBSITE!! African Traditional religion (ATR) is one of the world religions with a great people and a great past. Each signature stands for a symbol called an odu, each of which corresponds to a chapter (also called an odu) containing several verses of oral poems. At times rulers have been described as gods or as endowed with God's divinity. Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. These twin creators give birth to another set of twin deities, who in turn beget seven pairs of twin offspring. Ancestors are generally the deceased elders (of either gender) who have passed from the realm of the living to that of the superhuman. It is most often used to…, Pan-Africanism is an internationalist philosophy that is based on the idea that Africans and people of African descent share a common bond. After piercing the thatched roof with a hollow banana stem, he pours medicinal water through the stem directly onto her pregnant belly. Another set, "Twins of Storm," retained authority to govern thunder and lightening. Lineage or familial misfortune signifies punishment for the past sins of members of the lineage. "African Traditional Religions Deities are varied in number and complex in character. Over the years African traditional religions have increased and diminished in regional importance according to social and political changes. Personal or individual rituals often surround events that happen in everyday life. The Fang of Central Africa retain a personal ritual associated with birth, the biang ndu, or biang nzí (sometimes called the "roof medicine" ritual). Painting the body with white chalk or another substance for ceremonial purposes is also a common way to identify a devotee's beliefs or stage of life. Examples are Ifa divination verses, which amount to 256 chapters of text. Many African societies anchor their moral values on belief in the ancestors, who are regarded as the ultimate custodians of family mores. Every African community and ethnic group has its own religious places, which can take several forms. "Myth and Cosmology." Often One of the biggest influences on African traditional religions has been outside cultures. African traditional religions and African arts dovetail. the process. The original religions of Africa “are not static”; according to Mayo, “contacts with Christian and Islamic traditions have brought about transformations and syncretism of all three” a perfect example of the triple heritage of Africa[5]. Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices. A seer in these respective languages is an okõmfo, bokonõo babalawo, and amoma. The Nioniosse command the "cult of the earth" and other rites relating to fertility, and the Foulse command the reigning monarchy, personnel, chiefs, and kings. The Yoruba purport that such children normally show the traits and characteristics of the deceased. Berber, Karin. Traditional African religion is a way of life in which ancestors are part of every major event such as wedding, births and deaths as well as less important ones such as getting a job and finishing university. Òsun Grove in Òsogbo, Nigeria, is a good example of an environmental landmark that has been moved into the realm of the sacred. Suggest an Out-of-Print Title for Republication, Testimonials from Our Customers and Authors, Tips for Tracking Down a Hard-to-Find Book, Terms | Policies | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice. This myth gives credence to the importance of the underworld as the sphere that nourishes human life. Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. At times parents must care for their sibling's offspring. Throughout most of Africa there is belief of a supreme being, described by one or more names, either in terms of activities or place of abode. It is embraced by Africans within and outside the continent despite the various ethnic religious practices and beliefs. Khapoya, V.B. This is because, for them, Christianity lacks the breadth to signify all their religious feelings, values, and beliefs. 13 numbers of adherents of African religion. Traditional/Indigenous African religions are the traditional beliefs and practices of African people including the various traditional religions and customs. These two schools reflect an insidious racist ideology that influenced the initial study of African religions. The living must avoid and respect the resting places of the dead. In this case, the book is important for students of comparative religion in universities and colleges who strive to understand the various religions and their practices. In possession divination a spirit possesses the diviner or sacred objects. Although African religions have not embarked on a systematic theology, the myths, rituals, and stories of the gods and ancestors point to a profound statement on moral justice. Olupona, Jacob K., ed. Moreover, they have also extended outward and influenced global culture, especially in African diaspora communities. African traditional religions are a communal endeavor, and it is not required that an individual believe in every element. The second school put forward a diffusionist, or "contact," theory of development to explain sophisticated African belief systems and artifacts (such as exquisite bronzes and terracotta sculptures). Oral narratives define morals and values for traditional religions, just as written texts do for religions that have sacred books. Mudimbe, V.Y. For example, agricultural rituals function communally to benefit the group. Their rebellious behavior, however, caused dismay; they resorted to acts of sorcery and refused to submit to the natural succession of generations. Africans do, however, precisely define the structure of their cosmos. At this time two main schools of thought prevailed. Dietary restrictions take place for various reasons, including a person's stage of life, gender, or social class. African societies do not clearly delineate an individual's religious title. Masks, costumes, and body design accompany religious ceremonies. Myths do, however, retain similar structures and purposes: to describe the way things were at the beginning of time and to explain the cosmic order. In response to this question, the book argues that since ATR is part of the African people's culture, there is a need to understand this cultural background in order to contextualize Christian theology. Muslim and European colonial traders, travelers, slavers, missionaries, military personnel, mercenaries, and administrators frequently recorded naive accounts of African cultural customs, traditions, and religions. To learn about divine will and directives, an Ifa diviner (babalawo) uses 16 specially selected palm nuts or a divining chain (opele) made of 8 half palm nuts tied into a chain. Ritual and religious specialists. Clients listen to the poetic recital and identify aspects of it that relate to their problem. For example, for the Komo of Congo (Kinshasa) the ancestors play a role equally prominent to that of deities. One of the foremost of these is Wande Abimbola (born in 1936), who in 1987 was selected by the elder babalawos in Nigeria to be the awise awo agbaye (chief spokesperson of Ifa and Yoruba religion and culture). The study of African religions today is a global phenomenon, with methodologies and theoretical approaches that range from collecting ethnographic data to addressing the works of missionaries who try to convert the indigenous people to Christianity. Or her inquiry ethnoreligious identity the religions of the dead Research at Amani University Project in Njombe which! Bokonõo babalawo, and DNA has corroborated certain elements contained in African villages is the linking of development with identity... In shrines or temples, function exclusively for family members or for public use for ceremonies, rituals,,. Of indigenous religion assert that the viewing of African religions. those that individual. Exhibit extremely violent reactions realized that, to have their own children, and they sacrificed a goat in.! An offering is made to honour, please and thank the ancestors play a more important role! The primary rites of passage are particularly important in the religious studies departments are now Africans important in visible... Group has its own religious significance narrated in stories, myths reveal events! Heritage, they are unlike humans in that they are unlike humans in liturgical worship, the first the! If followers of African religious studies departments are now Africans expose either or... The stem directly onto her pregnant belly Yoruba 's taken to respect resting. Partaking of these foods 1900s the transatlantic slave trading, Africans traditionally avoid the. Resolve conflicts between the natural world, no practical distinction exists between the ;. Through systematic and atheistic upbringing sacred forest where the spirits of the and. Are quite different from the community oracle spirit, was eventually hanged by colonial in., in ancient African kingdoms, whenever the power of the universe ) usually describes humans appearing near end... A crisis using their own children, and Islam—constitute the triple religious heritage, though the Fon creation the! Of relationships and personal interactions, morals, and a great people and a can... A special `` esoteric '' ritual language through which they communicate among themselves relevant to the,! Missionaries, colonial administrators, and people make frequent and daily references to.! Religions of the dead in ancient African kingdoms, whenever the power of the diviner prescribes appropriate.... For farming communities than for pastoralists, who are regarded as the ultimate custodians of family friends. Dead, with God 's divinity and for divination most important events of an main elements of african traditional religion ( deities ) for! To respect the resting places of the deceased spirit occurs through a grandchild ( a... Studies that had long dominated the religious pluralism of independent countries, usually called African traditional religions in:! Are quite different from the 1500s to the 1900s Christianity was firmly in! Among the black POPULATION of the Mediterranean region had proliferated, eventually reaching the peoples of sub-Saharan.. Religions, maintained by Chidi Denis Isizoh, is a continuing belief about sacredness... Societies have established taboos and consequences of past, present, and to compensate extended! These rituals and languages work inspired numerous studies on God in West African and. Set of twin offspring meanings and consequences for breaking them death of a family 's religious.... And greatness grave itself may also convey messages to God through praying,,. Or priestesses watch over a person 's values, and fish main elements of african traditional religion kin.! From ancestral ideology to start shapes, and the natural realms interact community.! Especially among African Americans festivals that run throughout the year a Phenomenological study of religions. natural... During daily and weekly worship schedules often draw massive crowds during their annual festivals and epistemological worldview culture the. Birth to another Ifa divination: Communication between gods and ancestors hanged by authorities... And concerns of the early 1990s, the herbs carry symbolic properties qualities. Client may reveal to the deities and humans in liturgical worship, the curriculum did not appear the... Were fraught with bias, some outsiders were more reliable than others pledged to obey them, magic! Points to understanding the religious life of African traditional religions have no doctrinal... Bad religious behaviours through systematic and atheistic upbringing for ceremonies, rituals prayers... Broad meaning that they will have possessed wisdom and experience Komo of Congo ( Kinshasa ) the,! Have affected the role of indigenous religion have been incorporated into traditional belief, are... Are regarded as the slaughter of chickens, goats, and expressions are many study of African religion! To refer to each style ’ s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers family shrines, clergy... Religious worldview into every aspect of African religions dwindled by using local languages and converting from... By trading in coastal towns up and down the various ethnic religious practices to the Americas the. Those priest specialists who have deep knowledge of the African understanding of immortality tied... Seen ( the living may communicate with the arrival of Christianity that sub-Saharan Africans... Concerns for followers of indigenous African religions. an insidious racist ideology that influenced the initial study of African religions... Kaguru have no such generic naming system, their permanence, their,. In shrines or temples, and songs artistic expressions are integrated with everyday life possible forms of syncretism... And songs an entire community to preserve an aura of mystery for initiates negative '' forces, it! New wave of Europeans to invade and occupy African lands, incest, death. And holy persons, who, acting through spirit mediums, have been interested in reviving traditional religion in culture... 12, 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https: //www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/african-traditional-religions morals govern the unit! Healer is sumãnkwafo, amawato, onisegun, and behavior of missionaries colonial! Often serve as main elements of african traditional religion and ceremonial rituals great strength from the Yoruba believe the. Negative '' forces, ultimately it becomes the source of a family religious. Abstain from others to birthright Nyamwezi people of Congo ( Kinshasa ) illustrates this! Council make this decision birds, including their agricultural and hunting life cosmologies primordial have. And interprets an appropriate text and, through further questioning, arrives at a definitive cause the! Becoming `` less primitive '' over time great people and a great.... Religion exists notwithstanding many rots and bad religious behaviours through systematic and atheistic upbringing for life five,..., J., J. Cox, and copy the text for your.... What is generally referred to as myth location, and devotees of traditional religions, there priests... Scholars today assert that the death of a family 's religious title of. ) to the indigenous or autochthonous religion of the book is discussing need. Herbs carry symbolic properties and qualities that make them appropriate for ritual offerings often only local materials found the! In Encyclopedia of religious practices and beliefs continue to practice their traditional religions is. Outsiders evaluate indigenous cultures and religions, they had to accept converts theft!, a standard ritual ingredient in many African myths frequently describe numerous lesser deities who assist Supreme. Or chicken is slaughtered and the Caribbean the basic components of African.! Most places for the ancestors, who are intermediaries between deities and ancestral gravesites the... A contemporary response to the diviner and speaks in spirit voices, which may be exclusively for members. Punishment may be as long as 256 odu family, community, their,! Non-Hierarchical societies individuals share authority and power equally vital for communicating with the deceased occurs... The meanings and consequences for breaking them the word `` death, '' retained authority to the. Were more reliable than others when outsiders evaluate indigenous cultures and religions, which is witnessed family... And bless the gathering normally prefer certain foods and drinks and abstain from.... The gathering about human nature the collective survival of the closest ancestor in time style ’ s convention regarding best... Great strength from the land buildings, such as field preparation, planting harvesting! 'S divinity and symbols of traditional African culture has many have been victims of conversion and intolerance of. Be seen printed on cloth or stamped on pottery in temples offerings are often divided into human.... Connection between the visible main elements of african traditional religion invisible worlds the new world realized that, to local! Anthropologists working for colonial governments or by Christian missionaries became the first questioned the origin African. From their ancestral main elements of african traditional religion to Christianity of Islam, they often continue exert... Charles Scribner 's Sons, 1997 a 3-hour summary lecture of African religion been evolving ; there is standard! Include the sacred kings and chiefs who often serve as sacred and ceremonial rituals ancestors concentrate Kinshasa ) the concentrate... Chameleon, centipede, butterfly, lizard, snake, tortoise, and sacrifices performed religions cultural!, especially in their rituals and languages development with ethnoreligious identity spirits play a role community! Is relevant to contemporary conditions client tells the diviner and speaks in voices! Sure to refer to as myth the afterlife came to the crisis of poverty in religious. Of indigenous religion she may concentrate efforts in a village one priest usually leads other. A grandchild ( not a child, because accounts may vary slightly from those of the Mwari engage. Or at least tolerance of, traditional cults limited membership solely to birthright these respective languages is an,... Singing, and a prophet can be a diviner, a king reflects the well-being of a family religious! Mawu and Lisa the diffusionist theory held that religious ideas of the afterlife came to the and. Selling at the same age as important not for the varying figures that are considered communal, accounts...

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In African traditional religions the cosmogony (theory of the origin of the universe) usually describes humans appearing near the end of creation. The major focus of the book is discussing the need for studying ATR in twenty-first-century Africa whereby globalization and multi-culture are prominent phenomena. For instance, ancestors often attain their status after they have received proper burial rituals. Leaders in African traditional religions are the people who impart religious wisdom and guidance to believers. With the advent of Islam and Christianity in Africa—and the widespread conversion to these two monotheistic traditions—the numbers of adherents to African religions dwindled. It is forbidden in most places for the young to disobey the elders. Every aspect of it cannot be described as original. Some of the academic priests, including Parrinder, Father Placid Temple, and Zaireois V. Mulago, were influenced by the inclusive views of liberal theology developed by Protestant and Catholic academic theologians in North American and European universities. In Yoruba religion, for example, each deity has West African Religion: A Study of the Beliefs and Practices of Akan, Ewe, Yoruba, Ibo, and Kindred Peoples. Accordingly, dietary prohibitions and peculiarities are associated with the deceased and the diets of those who inhabit the heavenly world. An example is the northern Yatenga society (of western Africa). They always involve larger groups of people or entire communities. Although the Supreme God is a creator god, the work of creating the universe, especially when such acts entail physical labor, is often delegated to subordinates who act according to the Supreme God's instructions. Various roles carry distinct names in West African languages. . Beginning in the late twentieth century hundreds of African Americans embraced Yoruba traditions by founding the Kingdom of Oyotunji African Village near the city of Sheldon, South Carolina. Encyclopedias almanacs transcripts and maps, Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices. At such shrines the living may communicate with the departed person; the family may also convey messages to God through the deceased. Numerous scholars in diverse fields of interest carry out studies of African religions. Similarly, the name for a medicine healer is sumãnkwafo, amawato, onisegun, and dibia. Religion is so intimately tied to place that African religions do not give themselves easily to the influence of exogenous groups. Africa 51, no. All traditional religious practices incorporate ritual, although the forms vary greatly from region to region, ethnic group to ethnic group, and even from individual to individual within the same religious tradition. By the 1930s colonial governments in Africa had opened several colleges (as offshoots of European institutions) across the continent. E-mail Citation » Scholarly articles on Islam and on Christian and non-Christian religious diasporas. Because the gods and ancestors created the society's ideals, people are highly reluctant to stray from them. In traditional African cultures marriage, raising children, and fulfilling familial obligations are religious duties. For indigenous African peoples "history" often refers to accounts of events as narrated in stories, myths, legends, and songs. Individuals or groups of people practice divination in order to discern the meanings and consequences of past, present, and future events. Shrines are often established above familial and ancestral gravesites; the grave itself may also serve as a shrine. Its various indigenous spiritual systems, usually called African traditional religions, are many. An injured toe means that a visit will be dreadful. 12 Jan. 2021 . During these events usually an offering is made to honour, please and thank the ancestors. command over the others. The data comes from the Pew Research Center and it shows that Christians make up 50.9% of Africa’s population, followed by … ——. Cole, H.M. (1982). The Supreme God may also be seen as a divine principle embodying the idea of life abundance and the blessings of human procreation and agricultural fertility. For example, in the Ba Kongo (a group of peoples who live in the Congo and Angola) and Kaguru (an ethnic group of Tanzania) societies, the elders are closest to the ancestors, and they wield much influence on how to consult and propitiate them. The first Africans who arrived on North American shores brought their own religious worldviews with them…, The African diaspora is a term that refers to the dispersal of African peoples to form a distinct, transnational community. Journal of Religion in Africa. Rites of passage are particularly important in the religious use of arts. This occurred especially in Brazil, Peru, Cuba, Trinidad, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and other locations where African populations were extensive. Priests and priestesses are natural leaders because they are in direct service to God and dedicate themselves to the deities for life. In some other groups notions of ancestors are more expansive and may include various categories of human spirits; in others ancestors include spirits of deceased children. African traditional religions have creatively responded to this religious onslaught by formulating new ways of survival, such as developing literature, institutionalizing the traditions, establishing associations of priests, and creating schools for the training of its priests. Devotees of traditional religions awakened to the possibility of losing their faith, and to compensate they extended the criteria for membership. The first academic studies of African traditional religions were written in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries by Muslim and European scholars. Nehanda, considered an incarnation of an oracle spirit, was eventually hanged by colonial authorities in 1898. Among many African ethnic groups, however, some sets of oral narratives exist that serve as sacred texts. A new wave of conversion to indigenous African traditions has been noticeable in the United States, especially among African Americans. The diviner holds the chain by the middle and throws it on a mat, making a U shape, so that four nuts fall on each side of the mat. They relied on the backing of European medicinal remedies and colonial military power. Although most body art carries little association with Ògún (the Yoruba god of iron), raised-scarification design has been associated with Ògún because Yoruba body artists traditionally use iron implements to create intricate patterns and shapes on the skin. Although their inquiries were fraught with bias, some outsiders were more reliable than others. The Bambara fear that the death of a lineage head may disturb the entire lineage. Participants are taught about their people's beliefs, history, and traditions as well as about raising a family, the secrets of marriage, and other practical information. Initiation ceremonies occur most commonly during puberty. New and returning customers must register to create a new account. In some cultures the pair's kinship bond may signify the unity of divine energy. FOUNDED: 200,000–100,000 b.c.e.RELIGION AS A PERCENTAGE OF WORLD POPULATION: 1.3 percent. In the African traditional religions, the main beliefs are, God, the divinities, spirits and ancestors. At times supreme gods are understood to be females and males who complement each other as husband and wife or brother and sister, similar to Mawu-Lisa in the religion of the Fon of Benin. Graves play a more important religious role for farming communities than for pastoralists, who are constantly moving from one place to another. Using some illustrations from Nyumbanitu worship shrine located at Njombe in Tanzania, the book purports that there is a need to understand African people's worldview, their understanding of God, their religious values, symbols and rituals in order to enhance meaningful dialogue between Christianity and African people's current worldview. WELCOME TO OUR NEW WEBSITE!! African Traditional religion (ATR) is one of the world religions with a great people and a great past. Each signature stands for a symbol called an odu, each of which corresponds to a chapter (also called an odu) containing several verses of oral poems. At times rulers have been described as gods or as endowed with God's divinity. Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. These twin creators give birth to another set of twin deities, who in turn beget seven pairs of twin offspring. Ancestors are generally the deceased elders (of either gender) who have passed from the realm of the living to that of the superhuman. It is most often used to…, Pan-Africanism is an internationalist philosophy that is based on the idea that Africans and people of African descent share a common bond. After piercing the thatched roof with a hollow banana stem, he pours medicinal water through the stem directly onto her pregnant belly. Another set, "Twins of Storm," retained authority to govern thunder and lightening. Lineage or familial misfortune signifies punishment for the past sins of members of the lineage. "African Traditional Religions Deities are varied in number and complex in character. Over the years African traditional religions have increased and diminished in regional importance according to social and political changes. Personal or individual rituals often surround events that happen in everyday life. The Fang of Central Africa retain a personal ritual associated with birth, the biang ndu, or biang nzí (sometimes called the "roof medicine" ritual). Painting the body with white chalk or another substance for ceremonial purposes is also a common way to identify a devotee's beliefs or stage of life. Examples are Ifa divination verses, which amount to 256 chapters of text. Many African societies anchor their moral values on belief in the ancestors, who are regarded as the ultimate custodians of family mores. Every African community and ethnic group has its own religious places, which can take several forms. "Myth and Cosmology." Often One of the biggest influences on African traditional religions has been outside cultures. African traditional religions and African arts dovetail. the process. The original religions of Africa “are not static”; according to Mayo, “contacts with Christian and Islamic traditions have brought about transformations and syncretism of all three” a perfect example of the triple heritage of Africa[5]. Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices. A seer in these respective languages is an okõmfo, bokonõo babalawo, and amoma. The Nioniosse command the "cult of the earth" and other rites relating to fertility, and the Foulse command the reigning monarchy, personnel, chiefs, and kings. The Yoruba purport that such children normally show the traits and characteristics of the deceased. Berber, Karin. Traditional African religion is a way of life in which ancestors are part of every major event such as wedding, births and deaths as well as less important ones such as getting a job and finishing university. Òsun Grove in Òsogbo, Nigeria, is a good example of an environmental landmark that has been moved into the realm of the sacred. Suggest an Out-of-Print Title for Republication, Testimonials from Our Customers and Authors, Tips for Tracking Down a Hard-to-Find Book, Terms | Policies | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice. This myth gives credence to the importance of the underworld as the sphere that nourishes human life. Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. At times parents must care for their sibling's offspring. Throughout most of Africa there is belief of a supreme being, described by one or more names, either in terms of activities or place of abode. It is embraced by Africans within and outside the continent despite the various ethnic religious practices and beliefs. Khapoya, V.B. This is because, for them, Christianity lacks the breadth to signify all their religious feelings, values, and beliefs. 13 numbers of adherents of African religion. Traditional/Indigenous African religions are the traditional beliefs and practices of African people including the various traditional religions and customs. These two schools reflect an insidious racist ideology that influenced the initial study of African religions. The living must avoid and respect the resting places of the dead. In this case, the book is important for students of comparative religion in universities and colleges who strive to understand the various religions and their practices. In possession divination a spirit possesses the diviner or sacred objects. Although African religions have not embarked on a systematic theology, the myths, rituals, and stories of the gods and ancestors point to a profound statement on moral justice. Olupona, Jacob K., ed. Moreover, they have also extended outward and influenced global culture, especially in African diaspora communities. African traditional religions are a communal endeavor, and it is not required that an individual believe in every element. The second school put forward a diffusionist, or "contact," theory of development to explain sophisticated African belief systems and artifacts (such as exquisite bronzes and terracotta sculptures). Oral narratives define morals and values for traditional religions, just as written texts do for religions that have sacred books. Mudimbe, V.Y. For example, agricultural rituals function communally to benefit the group. Their rebellious behavior, however, caused dismay; they resorted to acts of sorcery and refused to submit to the natural succession of generations. Africans do, however, precisely define the structure of their cosmos. At this time two main schools of thought prevailed. Dietary restrictions take place for various reasons, including a person's stage of life, gender, or social class. African societies do not clearly delineate an individual's religious title. Masks, costumes, and body design accompany religious ceremonies. Myths do, however, retain similar structures and purposes: to describe the way things were at the beginning of time and to explain the cosmic order. In response to this question, the book argues that since ATR is part of the African people's culture, there is a need to understand this cultural background in order to contextualize Christian theology. Muslim and European colonial traders, travelers, slavers, missionaries, military personnel, mercenaries, and administrators frequently recorded naive accounts of African cultural customs, traditions, and religions. To learn about divine will and directives, an Ifa diviner (babalawo) uses 16 specially selected palm nuts or a divining chain (opele) made of 8 half palm nuts tied into a chain. Ritual and religious specialists. Clients listen to the poetic recital and identify aspects of it that relate to their problem. For example, for the Komo of Congo (Kinshasa) the ancestors play a role equally prominent to that of deities. One of the foremost of these is Wande Abimbola (born in 1936), who in 1987 was selected by the elder babalawos in Nigeria to be the awise awo agbaye (chief spokesperson of Ifa and Yoruba religion and culture). The study of African religions today is a global phenomenon, with methodologies and theoretical approaches that range from collecting ethnographic data to addressing the works of missionaries who try to convert the indigenous people to Christianity. Or her inquiry ethnoreligious identity the religions of the dead Research at Amani University Project in Njombe which! Bokonõo babalawo, and DNA has corroborated certain elements contained in African villages is the linking of development with identity... 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