The ancestors are generally believed to reside in an ancestral realm (spiritworld), while some believe that the ancestors became equal in power to deities.[29]. Peavy, D., (2009). About 10 per cent of the African population is still practicing some form of traditional religion today. [31], When this trance-like state is witnessed and understood, adherents are privy to a way of contemplating the pure or symbolic embodiment of a particular mindset or frame of reference. Some castings are done using sacred divination plates made of wood or performed on the ground (often within a circle). An Egungun masquerade dance garment in the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It is the most popular for decoration and can often be seen printed on cloth or stamped on pottery.The rapid spread of Pentecostal Christianity and fundamentalist Islam has greatly affected the role of indigenous religion in African society. […] This literature was highly treasured by many Jewish enthusiasts, in... […] Judea and the Therapeutae in Egypt, were said to have a “secret”... […] (طهارة‎, ṭaharah) is an essential aspect of Islam. Universality must surely be one key we have to the verity of any doctrine. Today, Christianity and Islam are religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa. Traditional/Indigenous African religions are the traditional beliefs and practices of African people including the various traditional religions and customs. . The two Abrahamic religions are widespread across Africa, though mostly concentrated in different areas. Yet certain aspects of African faiths differ from those of most world religions. Keywords: Africa, Kenyan Experience, African Traditional Religion, Justice, Reconciliation and Peace. He gave birth to the human community, created the first Kikuyu communities, and provided them with all the resources necessary for life: land, rain, plants and animals. There are many adherents of traditional religions, who came from long ago and are associated with a long autonomous historical development. The historiography of African religions and religions in Africa presents a remarkable shift from the study of 'Africa as Object' to 'Africa as Subject', thus translating the subject from obscurity into the global community of the academic study of religion. [39], For example, in the Serer religion, one of the most sacred stars in the cosmos is called Yoonir (the Star of Sirius). Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. The Benin Monarchy, Olokun & Iha Ominigbon. These figures represent peo-ple who primarily follow African traditional religion; however, All aspects of weather, thunder, lightning, rain, day, moon, sun, stars, and so on may become amenable to control through the cosmology of African people. One religious ceremony practiced in Gabon and Cameroon is the Okuyi, practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups. Culture A deeper look into the different cultures of the African continent, its food, people, music, art, language and more. ), World Christian Encyclopedia, summarized here, "Ancient African Religion Finds Roots In America", "The Need to Re-Conceptualize African Traditional Religion", The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800, Black God: the Afroasiatic roots of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions, Sayings of the Ancient One - Wisdom from Ancient Africa, culture-exchange.blog/animism-modern-africa, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Traditional_African_religions&oldid=997452558, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with dead external links from October 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Manjonjo Healers of Chitungwiza of Zimbabwe, Information presented here was gleaned from, Chidester, David. S. Mbiti, John (1991). Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. There are generally no prohibitions against the practice. Most African religions acknowledge the existence of a supreme deity who created the world and then, in most cases, retired from dealing with earthly affairs. The purpose of this is to help to orient a person who would like to work in the context of Africa. The Spiritual Life © 2020. For example, within the Samburu tribe of Kenya, a bride lives with her husband until her pregnancy.… In this state, depending upon the region, drumming or instrumental rhythms played by respected musicians (each of which is unique to a given deity or ancestor), participants embody a deity or ancestor, energy or state of mind by performing distinct ritual movements or dances which further enhance their elevated consciousness. This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. Abstract. Traditional African beliefs and cultural practices cannot be fully discussed without the subject of religion being highlighted. African Traditional Religion: A Definition (1973), Omosade Awolalu in Yoruba Belief and Sacrificial Rites and John Mbiti in The Concept of God in Africa (1970) are a few examples of postcolonial scholars of religion who have resisted and denounced colonial idea that Africans do not know God. They are folk religions, and combine different beliefs.In general, people in the cities confess to either Christianity or Islam. This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 15:48. To live here and now is the most important concern of African religious activities and beliefs. Since Africa is a large continent with many ethnic groups and cultures, there is not one single technique of casting divination. They have replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. African Traditional Religion is referred to the diverse beliefs that are included in various ethnic regions in Africa.The religion is characterized mainly by: 1.Supreme Being The African societies and ethnic communities believed in a supreme being who had different names for different communities.The people worshiped this God through singing,offering sacrifices,dancing,dedications … Main article: Persecution of traditional African religion. When we speak of African Traditional Religion, we mean the indigenous religious beliefs God is also known as Mungu, Murungu, or Mulungu (a variant of a word meaning God, which is found as far south as the Zambesi of Zambia), and is sometimes given the title Mwathani or Mwathi (the greatest ruler), which comes from the word gwatha, meaning to rule or reign with authority. 17–19, Parrinder, Geoffrey. Africa is a vast continent, with many races, but in religion as in other matters it is helpful for study to divide the continent at the Sahara Desert. [1][7], Adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over 100 million. The Kenyan scholar John Mbiti writes that a belief in the continuation of life after death for African peoples "does not constitute a hope for a future and better life. Religion enters into every aspect of the life of the Africans and it cannot be studied in isolation. 1komma5grad-quellen – Matthias Ziemer Photography says: Earth’s Crisis and Evolution Series- Part 1 Finding Commonality in Religious and Spiritual Pathways – SacredFireofKnowledge says: Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window), Persecution of traditional African religion, 1komma5grad-quellen – Matthias Ziemer Photography, ... [Trackback] [...] Read More Infos here: slife.org/ethics-in-religion/ [...], […] https://www.discovermongolia.mn/about-mongolia/culture-art-history/religion-in-mongolia https://slife.org/mongolian-shamanism/ https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-religions-are-practiced-in-mongolia.html […], ... [Trackback] [...] Find More Informations here: slife.org/western-slang-lingo-and-phrases/ [...], ... [Trackback] [...] Read More: slife.org/mens-rights-movement/ [...]. The will of the Supreme Deity is sought by the believer also through consultation of divinities or divination. Most religions can be described as animistic[4][5] with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. The defining line between deities and ancestors is often contested, but overall, ancestors are believed to occupy a higher level of existence than living human beings and are believed to be able to bestow either blessings or illness upon their living descendants. This is part of democracy. The practice of casting may be done with small objects, such as bones, cowrie shells, stones, strips of leather, or flat pieces of wood. The Central Regional Chairperson of the Psychic and Traditional Healers Association Limited, Nana Kojo Owonae who is also the Chief Priest of the Santrofi Shrine at Asebu has said the African Traditional Religion is the best. The Traditional Religions of Africa. However, there were many traditional religions practiced prior to the arrival of these two religions. Ancestors can offer advice and bestow good fortune and honor to their living dependents, but they can also make demands, such as insisting that their shrines be properly maintained and propitiated. In this state, depending upon the region, drumming or instrumental rhythms played by respected musicians (each of which is unique to a given deity or ancestor), participants embody a deity or ancestor, energy or state of mind by performing distinct ritual movements or dances which further enhance their elevated consciousness. Among Nilo-Saharan speakers is the belief in Divinity; evil is caused by divine judgement and retribution; prophets as middlemen between Divinity and man. He then took the first man, Gikuyu, to the top to point out the beauty of the land he was giving him.In traditional African religions, such as the Azande religion, a person is said to have a good or bad conscience, depending on whether he does the bidding of God or malevolent spirits. The symbol can be found throughout Ghana. Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. . The purpose of this is to help to orient a person who would like to work in the context of Africa. The country straddles the equator, covering a total of 224,961 square miles (582,600 square kilometers; roughly twice the size of the state of Nevada). All Rights Reserved. [25], Some researchers, including historical ethnolinguist Christopher Ehret, suggest that certain monotheistic concepts, such as the belief in a creator god or force (next to other gods, deities and spirits) are ancient and indigenous among peoples of the Niger-Congo ethnolinguistic family (of much of West Africa and Central Africa) and date to the beginning of their history, in a form substantially different from the monotheism found in Abrahamic religions. 2 E. B. Idowu, African Traditional Religion, S.C.M., 1973, p.87. Thunder is interpreted to be the movement of God, and lightning is God’s weapon by means of which he clears the way when moving from one sacred place to another. 3 Leo Frobenius, The Voice of Africa, Vol. Traditional African religion is very popular and arrived here … They include the Protestants, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Independent and non-affiliated Christians. When we speak of African Traditional Religion, we mean the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the Africans. In many cases, Africans who have converted to other religions have still kept up their traditional customs and practices, combining them in a syncretic way.[42]. According to Gottlieb and Mbiti: The environment and nature are infused in every aspect of traditional African religions and culture. [28], Nigerian American professor of indigenous African religions at Harvard University, Jacob Olupona summarized the many traditional African religions as complex animistic religious traditions and beliefs of the African people before the Christian and Islamic "colonization" of Africa. [17] Traditional African religions also have elements of fetishism, shamanism and veneration of relics. With a long farming tradition, the Serer high priests and priestesses (Saltigue) deliver yearly sermons at the Xoy Ceremony (divination ceremony) in Fatick before Yoonir’s phase in order to predict winter months and enable farmers to start planting. Traditional Religions The religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa are Christianity and Islam. Some sacred or holy locations for traditional religions include Nri-Igbo, the Point of Sangomar, Yaboyabo, Fatick, Ife, Oyo, Dahomey, Benin City, Ouidah, Nsukka, Kanem-Bornu, Igbo-Ukwu, and Tulwap Kipsigis, among others. Traditional healers are common in most areas, and their practices include a religious element to varying degrees. . An African understanding, The List: The World's Fastest-Growing Religions, "US study sheds light on Africa's unique religious mix", Ian S. Markham,(A World Religions Reader. Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast—African religion is the majority religion. In Sierra Leone, Botswana, and Burkina Faso more than 33 percent follow African religion, although it is not the religion of the majority. For the Kikuyu, according to their primary supreme creator, Ngai, acting through the lesser deities, is believed to speak to and be capable of guiding the virtuous person as one’s conscience. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. Virtue in traditional African religion is often connected with carrying out obligations of the communal aspect of life. But before those two religions arrived, there were several traditional religions practiced. Many of the World Religions are more known than ATR in many parts of Africa (Adedeji, 2012). [16], Animism builds the core concept of traditional African religions, this includes the worship of tutelary deities, nature worship, ancestor worship and the belief in an afterlife. Some religious and non-religious scholars alike have always highlighted that of all the races in the world that God created the African is said to be the most notoriously religious. Modern Religion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_African_religions However the most dominant ones in Ghana and Africa are Islam and Christianity, both accounting for more than 90% of religious adherents, with the rest, including traditional beliefs, having less than 10% of adherents. [33] This includes also nature, elementary and animal spirits. [8][9], Although the majority of Africans today are adherents of Christianity or Islam, African people often combine the practice of their traditional belief with the practice of Abrahamic religions. Christianity came to Africa from the outside, it happened, as the legend says, in 42, then the Orthodox Coptic Church was formed by the Apostle Mark. Today, around 10 percent of the African population still practice some form of traditional religion. "Religions of South Africa" pp. When he comes he rests on Mount Kenya and four other sacred mountains. constantly liable to misunderstand the African worldview and beliefs. "Kings, Magic & Medicine". This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. Some sacred or holy locations for traditional religions include Nri-Igbo, the Point of Sangomar, Yaboyabo, Fatick, Ife, Oyo, Dahomey, Benin City, Ouidah, Nsukka, Kanem-Bornu, Igbo-Ukwu, and Tulwap Kipsigis, among others. Raleigh, NC: SI. [21][22] New world religions such as Santería, Vodun, and Candomblé, would be derived from this world. [34] Some recognize a dual god and goddess such as Mawu-Lisa. Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. Traditional healers are common in most areas, and their practices include a religious element to varying degrees. (Worship of the vodun is the original source of the Haitian religion of Vodou, which emerged as a syncretism of African, Roman Catholic, and Caribbean religious traditions by African slaves in Haiti.) Yet Ngai is not the distant God that we know in the West. Although the majority of Africans are adherents of Christianity or Islam, African people often combine the practice of their traditional belief with the practice of Abrahamic religions. The practice of casting may be done with small objects, such as bones, cowrie shells, stones, strips of leather, or flat pieces of wood. That is the case concerning issues about Africa and its religious beliefs. In many traditional African religions, there is a belief in a cyclical nature of reality. The major faiths practiced in South Africa are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, traditional African religions and Judaism. The word, is related to the Maasai word Enkai, and was borrowed by both the Kikuyu and Kamba. Introduction to African religion. There are more similarities than differences in all traditional African religions. According to Lugira, “it is the only religion that can claim to have originated in Africa. They counteracted various derogatory names given to AIR. According to Gottlieb and Mbiti: The environment and nature are infused in every aspect of traditional African religions and culture. Ngai is the creator and giver of all things, ‘the Divider of the Universe and Lord of Nature’. The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. The three main religious traditions—African traditional religion, Christianity, and Islam—constitute the triple religious heritage of the African continent. To efficiently study the African Traditional Religion (ATR), one must also study the people who practice this religion. Welcome to the summary lecture of African Traditional Religions. Inter-religious relations, especially, among African Traditional Religion (ATR) worshippers, Muslims and Christians are becoming sources of social tension and violence. [30], West and Central African religious practices generally manifest themselves in communal ceremonies or divinatory rites in which members of the community, overcome by force (or ashe, nyama, etc. Indigenous African religions are by nature plural, varied, and usually informed by one’s ethnic identity i.e. Ancestors (ancestral ghosts/spirits) are an integral part of reality. Often, the supreme Deity is worshiped through consultation or communion with lesser deities and ancestral spirits. Such separation and subsequent contemplation of the nature and sources of pure energy or feelings serves to help participants manage and accept them when they arise in mundane contexts. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. Traditional religion and beliefs of the Kikuyu. Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. The possessed are referred to as “horsemen,” because they are … African religions also share many ideas with world religions such as Judaism and Buddhism. The three main religious traditions—African traditional religion, Christianity, and Islam—constitute the triple religious heritage of the African continent. While some religions adopted a pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods, spirits and other supernatural beings. [38] Traditional African religions embrace natural phenomena – ebb and tide, waxing and waning moon, rain and drought – and the rhythmic pattern of agriculture. Britannica Book of the Year 2003. Some African religions adopted different views through the influence of Islam or even Hinduism.[36]. Olupona rejects the western/islamic definition of Monotheism or Polytheism and says that such concepts could not reflect the complex African traditions and are simplistic. African religions also share many ideas with world religions such as Judaism and Buddhism. This is a 3-hour summary lecture on the basic components of African Traditional Religions. Encyclopædia Britannica, (2003), Index of African mythology and creation narratives, List of African deities and mythical figures, Traditional African Religion and other religions, Persecution of traditional African religion, "The world of spirits and the respect for nature: towards a new appreciation of animism", "Animism: Foundation of Traditional Healing in Sub-Saharan Africa", What is religion? Main article: African divination Because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African people. Today, Christianity and Islam are religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa. Encyclopædia Britannica. In Africa the traditional religions are a major source for the study of the African experience of God. 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