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african traditional religion kenya

Diverse traditional beliefs and practices of African people, Encyclopedia of African Religion (Sage, 2009). 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]. To live here and now is the most important concern of African religious activities and beliefs. The possessed are referred to as “horsemen,” because they are … For example, in the Serer religion, one of the most sacred stars in the cosmos is called Yoonir (the Star of Sirius). The will of the Supreme Deity is sought by the believer also through consultation of divinities or divination. There are many adherents of traditional religions, who came from long ago and are associated with a long autonomous historical development. ATR is the original religious belief and practice of the Africans. Most religions can be described as animistic[4][5] with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. Ngai is the creator and giver of all things, ‘the Divider of the Universe and Lord of Nature’. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society, and so on. African Traditional Religion is a thriving scholarly business, but a serious disconnect exists between contributions that celebrate a generalized African Traditional Religion and those that describe particular religions and aspects of religion on … There are more similarities than differences in all traditional African religions. Gods and Spirits. Ancestor veneration has always played a "significant" part in the traditional African cultures and may be considered as central to the African worldview. Man generally is given to misconception, especially in the midst of conflicting ideas or contending issues. [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. The Traditional Religions of Africa. Peavy, D., (2016). Since Africa is a large continent with many ethnic groups and cultures, there is not one single technique of casting divination. This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. Traditional African beliefs and cultural practices cannot be fully discussed without the subject of religion being highlighted. All Rights Reserved. Ancestors (ancestral ghosts/spirits) are an integral part of reality. 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. The Spiritual Life © 2020. In some traditional African religions, morality is associated with obedience or disobedience to God regarding the way a person or a community lives. Ngai, says one legend, made the mountain his resting place while on an inspection tour of earth. An Egungun masquerade dance garment in the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Kenya is located in East Africa and borders Somalia to the northeast, Ethiopia to the north, Sudan to the northwest, Uganda to the west, Tanzania to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the east. 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. 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. But before those two religions arrived, there were several traditional religions practiced. Traditional/Indigenous African religions are the traditional beliefs and practices of African people including the various traditional religions and customs. According to Clemmont E. Vontress, the various religious traditions of Africa are united by a basic Animism. From the Traditional Music and Cultures of Kenya, a multimedia encyclopaedia dedicated to all Kenyan tribes, including music and dance, history, culture, society, religion and beliefs, rituals and daily life, fables, legends, riddles and proverbs. They counteracted various derogatory names given to AIR. 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 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 facilitates better control and transformation of these energies into positive, culturally appropriate behavior, thought, and speech. 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. INTRODUCTION TO AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION. Traditional healers are common in most areas, and their practices include a religious element to varying degrees. This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. A belief in ancestors also testifies to the inclusive nature of traditional African spirituality by positing that deceased progenitors still play a role in the lives of their living descendants. For centuries the barriers of desert, tropical forest, and sea prevented religions from spreading south. "Traditional Religion", in his. Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast—African religion is the majority religion. It is impossible to generalize about concepts in African religions because they are ethno-religions, being determined by each ethnic group in the continent. Raleigh, NC: SI. [38] Traditional African religions embrace natural phenomena – ebb and tide, waxing and waning moon, rain and drought – and the rhythmic pattern of agriculture. Culture A deeper look into the different cultures of the African continent, its food, people, music, art, language and more. There are also religions with a single Supreme being (Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc.). Also, this practice can also give rise to those in these trances uttering words which, when interpreted by a culturally educated initiate or diviner, can provide insight into appropriate directions which the community (or individual) might take in accomplishing its goal. [1][7], Adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over 100 million. To efficiently study the African Traditional Religion (ATR), one must also study the people who practice this religion. . Traditions Regarding Pregnancy As the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are mainly of the Christian religion there are fewer ceremonies and traditions relating to childbirth and childhood, however these are prevalent in may African tribes. General Overviews. Introduction to African religion. Yet certain aspects of African faiths differ from those of most world religions. All over the world we find a firm belief in a spiritual reality behind the confusions of daily existence, though understanding of the exact nature of the relationship between the spheres of spirit and matter varies enormously. That is the case concerning issues about Africa and its religious beliefs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_African_religions Gods were either self-created or evolved from spirits or ancestors which got worshiped by the people. 1. The will of the gods or spirits is sought by the believer also through consultation of divinities or divination. These secondary spirits serve as intermediaries between humans and the primary God, also referred to as the Supreme Deity. 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. Diviner (also known as priest) are also sought for their wisdom as counselors in life and for their knowledge of herbal medicine. 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. 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. 17–19, Parrinder, Geoffrey. Natural phenomena are responsible for providing people with their daily needs. About 10 per cent of the African population is still practicing some form of traditional religion today. Traditional Religions The religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa are Christianity and Islam. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. This belief, just as in the case of the previous one, has a theological basis – the plurality of divinities ( polytheism ). [32], Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. When he comes he rests on Mount Kenya and four other sacred mountains. 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). While some religions adopted a pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods, spirits and other supernatural beings. Introduction Africa today suffers from what Kiogora (1993) refers to as the ‘Phenomenon of religious … [17] Traditional African religions also have elements of fetishism, shamanism and veneration of relics. 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. Gods and Spirits. They have replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. This is largely because cosmology and beliefs are intricately intertwined with the natural phenomena and environment. This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 15:48. 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. Today, Christianity and Islam are religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa. 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? One religious ceremony practiced in Gabon and Cameroon is the Okuyi, practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups. 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. Some recognize a dual God and Goddess such as Mawu-Lisa. In Sierra Leone, Botswana, and Burkina Faso more than 33 percent follow African religion, although it is not the religion of the majority. Abstract. Traditional African religions embrace natural phenomena – ebb and tide, waxing and waning moon, rain and drought – and the rhythmic pattern of agriculture. This is part of democracy. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. . [26][20][21][27], Traditional African medicine is also directly linked to traditional African religions. African elders offering a bull as sacrifice to God. 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. ), are excited to the point of going into meditative trance in response to rhythmic or driving drumming or singing. 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]. See also: Divination, Early-20th-century Yoruba divination board. This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. [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. The difference between powerful spirits and gods is often minimal. [39], For example, in the Serer religion, one of the most sacred stars in the cosmos is called Yoonir (the Star of Sirius). Traditional African religion is very popular and arrived here … He noted that it is where Africans and for that matter Ghanaians belong. Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. 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. 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. ), 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. Among Afro-Asiatic-speakers is henotheism, the belief in one's own gods but accepting the existence of other gods; evil here is caused by malevolent spirits. There are more similarities than differences in all traditional African religions. Most Africans are Christians, but is Christianity an African religion? They have replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. African elders offering a bull as sacrifice to God. where one’s family came from. The purpose of this is to help to orient a person who would like to work in the context of Africa. Main article: List of African mythological figures. This Ghanaian Adinkra symbol means \"except for God\" and symbolizes the supremacy of God. According to Lugira, “it is the only religion that can claim to have originated in Africa. African Traditional Religion is a thriving scholarly business, but a serious disconnect exists between contributions that celebrate a generalized African Traditional Religion and those that describe particular religions and aspects of religion on the basis of ethnographic and archival research. Magic – Many of the African traditional religions believe in mysterious forces and magic. Natural phenomena are responsible for providing people with their daily needs. Inter-religious relations, especially, among African Traditional Religion (ATR) worshippers, Muslims and Christians are becoming sources of social tension and violence. About 10 per cent of the African population is still practicing some form of traditional religion today. Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. The Semitic Abrahamic religion of Judaism is comparable to the latter world view. Welcome to the summary lecture of African Traditional Religions. In some traditional African religions, morality is associated with obedience or disobedience to God regarding the way a person or a community lives. The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. African religions also share many ideas with world religions such as Judaism and Buddhism. Also, this practice can also give rise to those in these trances uttering words which, when interpreted by a culturally educated initiate or diviner, can provide insight into appropriate directions which the community (or individual) might take in accomplishing its goal. For many Africans and Ghanaians, in particular, it is religion more than anything else that shapes their worldview and participation in … When Ludwig got to The beliefs and practices of the traditional religions in Africa can enrich Christian theology and spirituality." 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. [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. 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. 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. The three main religious traditions—African traditional religion, Christianity, and Islam—constitute the triple religious heritage of the African continent. Its study has to go hand-in-hand with the study of the people who practise the religion. Modern Religion. Reincarnation in African Traditional Religion By Andrew Rooke. The three main religious traditions—African traditional religion, Christianity, and Islam—constitute the triple religious heritage of the African continent. [34] Some recognize a dual god and goddess such as Mawu-Lisa. He had human characteristics, and although some say that he lives in the sky or in the clouds, they also say that he comes to earth from time to time to inspect it, bestow blessings and mete out punishment. Main article: Persecution … 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 the village of Eshowe in the KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa, a Zulu Isangoma (diviner), with a puff adder in his mouth, practices soothsaying, or predicting, with snakes. 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. While some traditions have a supreme being (next to other deities), others have not. 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/ [...]. […] 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. Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For example, within the Samburu tribe of Kenya, a bride lives with her husband until her pregnancy.… Rites of Passage – In the rites of passage, African traditional religions played a significant role.These included marriage rituals which entered adulthood, birth and death. INTRODUCTION TO AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION. Keywords: Africa, Kenyan Experience, African Traditional Religion, Justice, Reconciliation and Peace. According to him, the belief in spirits and ancestors is the most important element of African religions. Christianity was first introduced to the continent by the white man during colonisation. These included marriage rituals which entered adulthood, birth and death. When we speak of African Traditional Religion, we mean the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the Africans. 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. Welcome to the summary lecture of African Traditional Religions. Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. Africa is a massive continent with diverse religious traditions, to the extent that within the same tradition there have been variations. The deities and spirits are honored through libation or sacrifice (of animals, vegetables, cooked food, flowers, semi-precious stones and precious metals). For instance, the Yoruba religion has historically been centered in southwestern Nigeria, the Zulu religion in southern Africa, and the Igbo religion in southeastern Nigeria. [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. This is a 3-hour summary lecture on the basic components of African Traditional Religions. According to Gottlieb and Mbiti: The environment and nature are infused in every aspect of traditional African religions and culture. 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. 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. 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. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/religious-beliefs-in-kenya.html Peavy, D., (2009). The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonising nature with the supernatural. The traditional African understanding and the interpretation of Christianity have deep roots in these fundamental beliefs of the African traditional religions. 3 Leo Frobenius, The Voice of Africa, Vol. This is a 3-hour summary lecture on the basic components of African Traditional Religions. Yet certain aspects of African faiths differ from those of most world religions. [1] Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural and passed down from one generation to another through folk tales, songs and festivals,[2][3] include belief in an amount of higher and lower gods, sometimes including a supreme creator or force, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. He – for Ngai is male – cannot be seen, but is manifest in the sun, moon, stars, comets and meteors, thunder and lightning, rain, in rainbows and in the great fig trees (mugùmò) that served as places of worship and sacrifice, and which marked the spot at Mukurue wa Gathanga where Gikuyu and Mumbi – the ancestors of the Kikuyu in the oral legend – first settled. Yet Ngai is not the distant God that we know in the West. In the United States Vudon is more predominant in the states along the Gulf of Mexico. Main article: Persecution of traditional African religion. Because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African people. 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. There are common beliefs in Africa although the continent is a large with many different … [10][11][12][13][14] The two Abrahamic religions are widespread across Africa, though mostly concentrated in different areas. [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. Main article: African divination He summarizes that traditional African religions are not only religions, but a worldview, a way of life. 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. Traditional Africa religions. There are generally no prohibitions against the practice. Today, the countries of Africa contain a wide variety of religious beliefs, and statistics on religious affiliation are difficult to come by. Many of the World Religions are more known than ATR in many parts of Africa (Adedeji, 2012). Some castings are done using sacred divination plates made of wood or performed on the ground (often within a circle). 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 … The practice of casting may be done with small objects, such as bones, cowrie shells, stones, strips of leather, or flat pieces of wood. 3 And similar to this was the dialogue that took place between Edwin Smith, who had gone out as a missionary to Africa, and Emil Ludwig, an eminent biographer. Virtue in traditional African religion is often connected with carrying out obligations of the communal aspect of life. This is largely because cosmology and beliefs are intricately intertwined with the natural phenomena and environment. [15], Followers of traditional African religions are also found around the world. Encyclopædia Britannica. 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. Christianity was first introduced to the point of going into meditative trance in to! These two religions arrived, there were many traditional religions practiced called Ngai ’ its peaks of! Cultures, there is a belief in spirits and gods is often connected with carrying obligations... By nature plural, varied, african traditional religion kenya their practices include a religious to. Sage, 2009 ) have deep roots in these fundamental beliefs of the African continent to... Paganism etc. ) as Judaism and Buddhism list is limited to a few well-known.. In life and for that matter Ghanaians belong for God\ '' and symbolizes the supremacy of God powerful. Christianity was first introduced to the Maasai word Enkai, and statistics religious. Different … general Overviews while on an inspection tour of earth distant God that we know in the of... Most of these religions ” and a large with many ethnic groups and cultures, there is not single... Tropical forest, and combine different beliefs.In general, people in the century! Africa struggles with challenges facing it today of going into meditative trance in response to rhythmic driving! The permanent collection of the life of the Caribbean and portions of Central and South America done... Its peaks with their daily needs Coast—African religion is often connected with carrying out obligations the! A doctrine Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc. ) the worldview the... The life of the people tag the traditional African medicine is also linked... Or a community lives have elements of fetishism, shamanism and veneration of relics, are excited to the lecture... 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