In some traditional African religions, morality is associated with obedience or disobedience to God regarding the way a person or a community lives. In the United States Vudon is more predominant in the states along the Gulf of Mexico. 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. [33], Traditional African religions generally believe in an afterlife, one or more Spirit worlds, and Ancestor worship is an important basic concept in mostly all African religions. [29], 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. They have replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. Worship is by way of utterances mainly, and not meditative, and comes in many forms, such as sacrifices and offerings; prayers, invocations, blessing and salutations; and intercessions. According to Gottlieb and Mbiti: The environment and nature are infused in every aspect of traditional African religions and culture. Among Nilo-Saharan speakers is the belief in Divinity; evil is caused by divine judgement and retribution; prophets as middlemen between Divinity and man. Diverse traditional beliefs and practices of African people, Encyclopedia of African Religion (Sage, 2009). 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. There are no strict rules governing when people should worship, but the practice and customs of worship vary from place to place, and people worship for special reasons, such as harvest festivals, the rites of birth, initiation, marriage and death, planting time, times of national need, before or during hunting, gathering and fishing, the blessing of cattle, unusual phenomena, and the coronation of chiefs and kings. [17] Traditional African religions also have elements of fetishism, shamanism and veneration of relics. The three essential features of African traditional religions are belief, worship and morality. Praying is the commonest form of worship among traditional African peoples. They are mostly requests to satisfy a particular need or to give thanks. But importantly, they are done to restore the balance between man and God. The belief in God as a supreme being is central to all the traditional religions but there are a few where this is not so. Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. This includes also nature, elementary and animal spirits. [36] Traditional African religions embrace natural phenomena – ebb and tide, waxing and waning moon, rain and drought – and the rhythmic pattern of agriculture. Peavy, D., (2016). The prayers are usually short, extemporaneous, and succinct, and may be accompanied by sacrifices and offerings. Sometimes the worship of God is done through intercessors. "There is no limit as to where and when African peoples perform one or more act of worship. Belief. There are also religions with a single Supreme being (Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc.). There are also religions with a single Supreme being (Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc.). [37], For example, in the Serer religion, one of the most sacred stars in the cosmos is called Yoonir (the Star of Sirius). The Semitic Abrahamic religion of Judaism is comparable to the latter world view. Some African religions adopted different views through the influence of Islam or even Hinduism.[34]. ANCESTOR SPIRITS (ANCESTOR WORSHIP) The main point of interest in African Traditional Religion is the belief and worship of ancestors. Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. [35] The deities and spirits are honored through libation or sacrifice (of animals, vegetables, cooked food, flowers, semi-precious stones and precious metals). This page was last edited on 27 November 2020, at 02:28. Altars are sacred spots used for offerings and sacrifices, and can be found in shrines and temples or in the open air. 17–19, Parrinder, Geoffrey. [15], Followers of traditional African religions are also found around the world. 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? Peavy, D., (2009). Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. Gods were either self-created or evolved from spirits or ancestors which got worshiped by the people. Introduction to African religion. Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. 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. [6][1] The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonizing nature with the supernatural. [31] This includes also nature, elementary and animal spirits. Since Africa is a large continent with many ethnic groups and cultures, there is not one single technique of casting divination. ), are excited to the point of going into meditative trance in response to rhythmic or driving drumming or singing. This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. It is known that not everyone who dies becomes an ancestor. God is omnipresent, and he is reachable at any time and in any place. The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. Most religions can be described as animistic[4][5] with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. There are more similarities than differences in all traditional African religions. Sacrifices and offerings are common acts of worship. People worship him whenever the need arises," Mbiti says. "Kings, Magic & Medicine". The religion of the Yoruba is finding roots in the Islands of the Caribbean and potions of Central and South America. [30], Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. Raleigh, NC: SI. Traditional Niger-Congo religion also included polytheistic and animistic elements. Cleon James: Fulfilling God’s purpose in his life», Fund launched to support women business owners affected by COVID, Campbell elected PNP gen-sec, Paulwell voted chairman, Suspected extremists kill at least 40 farmers in Nigeria, PNP NEC underway, as party prepares to elect new chairman, general secretary, More than 150 Venezuelans deported from Trinidad; court halts deportation of 19 others, US$10 million drug bust in Caribbean waters; Dom Rep nationals arrested, Eyes peeled for Lisa as PNP elects gen sec, chairman, Some Portmore residents object to parish push … Call on Government to focus on infrastructure development, Digital Archives: Online editions 2006-Now. [18], Traditional African religions can be broken down into linguistic cultural groups, with common themes. In the African traditional religions, the main beliefs are, God, the divinities, spirits and ancestors. [1][7], Adherents of traditional religions in Sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over 100 million. 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. [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. There are generally no prohibitions against the practice. [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. Caves and sacred mountains, river banks, waterfalls, ruins, special trees are also used as sacred places where worship takes place. "It is also an act and occasion of making and renewing contact between God and man ... ," John S. Mbiti says in African Religions and Philosophy. "The reason for this feeling and practice seems to derive mainly from the social and political life of the peoples concerned. S. Mbiti, John (1991). It can be said the worship of God in Africa traditional religion is the very soul of African religion. [21][22] New world religions such as Santería, Vodun, and Candomblé, would be derived from this world. Invocations are calls for God's intervention into a particular matter. The prayers are usually short, extemporaneous, and succinct, and may be accompanied by sacrifices and offerings. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. Though there is no strict time and place of worship, worship takes place in special shrines, temples, altars, groves and other sacred places used for public sacrifices and prayers. ), 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=990886970, 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. According to him, the belief in spirits and ancestors is the most important element of African religions. The difference between powerful spirits and gods is often minimal. The practice of casting may be done with small objects, such as bones, cowrie shells, stones, strips of leather, or flat pieces of wood. Umewaen: Journal of Benin & Edoid Studies: Osweego, NY. [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. They therefore ask the ancestors to communicate on their behalf. They are mostly requests to satisfy a particular need or to give thanks. They respond to this awareness by worshipping through deeds and sayings that vary from community to community. 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