what are the beliefs of african traditional religion?

Traditional African religion is still popular throughout Africa and stems from the beliefs of Central and West African ancestors. S. Mbiti, John (1991). The two Abrahamic religions are widespread across Africa, though mostly concentrated in different areas. • Maria McCabe-Arreola • 11\13\2020 • INT-244 • Professor Calvin Habig Shoshone • The Shoshone name comes from a Native American tribe that is located in southeastern California, across central and western Nevada, as well as in Northwester Utah, southern Idaho and western Wyoming. 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. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural and passed down from one generation to another through folk tales, songs and festivals, 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. 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. The Benin Monarchy, Olokun & Iha Ominigbon. 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. Yet Ngai is not the distant God that we know in the West. Instead, myths are embedded and transmitted in ritual practice. [38] Traditional African religions embrace natural phenomena – ebb and tide, waxing and waning moon, rain and drought – and the rhythmic pattern of agriculture. Most religions can be described as animistic[4][5] with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. In support, Iwuoha points out that traditional African religion cuts … In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. April 28, 2017. 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. They have replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. Monotheism does not reflect the multiplicity of ways that the traditional African spirituality has conceived of deities, gods, and spirit beings. Traditional/Indigenous African religions are the traditional beliefs and practices of African people including the various traditional religions and customs. According to Lugira, “it is the only religion that can claim to have originated in Africa. 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. African traditional religion has also been the source of inspiration ofre which Africa is known, and included in theses are art, music, social institutions, politically systems and the ancient civilization. African Traditional Religion. The belief in God as a supreme being is central to all the traditional … African Traditional Religion (ATR) refers to the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of Africans. Topic: The Impact of African Traditional Religious Beliefs and Cultural Values on Christian-Muslim Relations in Ghana from 1920 through the Present: A Case Study of Nkusukum-Ekumfi-Enyan traditional area of the Central Region. "Religions of South Africa" pp. They believe different things about life after we die on earth, they believe that different things are and are not God, and they believe different types of people are and are not prophets and priests. Mobolaji Idowu in Olodumare: God in Yoruba Belief (1962), 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. Diviner (also known as priest) are also sought for their wisdom as counselors in life and for their knowledge of herbal medicine. There are generally no prohibitions against the practice. There are more similarities than differences in all traditional African religions. Individuals cannot reject a particular belief, since beliefs are part and parcel of the wider community. [26][20][21][27], Traditional African medicine is also directly linked to traditional African religions. Percentage of population practicing traditional religion. The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions . [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. about African Traditional Religions. The difference between powerful spirits and gods is often minimal. (1 ½ - 2 pages) Religion provides us with a set of beliefs, values and attitudes, a focal point for developing ritual as well as a variety of social networks therefore giving us a purpose to our lives. The traditional cosmology expresses belief in a supreme being (referred to by the Akan as Nyame, or by the Ewe as Mawu). Diverse traditional beliefs and practices of African people, Encyclopedia of African Religion (Sage, 2009). 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. Most African societies believe in a single Supreme being (Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc.). Among Nilo-Saharan speakers is the belief in Divinity; evil is caused by divine judgement and retribution; prophets as middlemen between Divinity and man. Man generally is given to misconception, especially in the midst of conflicting ideas or contending issues. Often, the supreme Deity is worshiped through consultation or communion with lesser deities and ancestral spirits. This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. 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. […] 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. Native American & African Traditional Religions, Beliefs and Practices. traditional we understand what is aboriginal, natural or fundamental. Ancestor veneration has always played a "significant" part in the traditional African cultures and may be considered as central to the African worldview. 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. The traditional belief systems, spirituality and faith of West African peoples has been described in more or less disparaging terms over the course of history, broad terms that fail to reflect the complexity and depth of these beliefs: “paganism”, “animism”, “ancestor-worship”, “idolatry”, “fetishism”, “heathenism”, etc. According to him, the belief in spirits and ancestors is the most important element of African religions. Westerners, and even most misinformed Africans, are wont to use derogatory words such as primitive, idolatry, paganism etc. The continued influence of traditional African religion is also evident in some aspects of daily life. African Religion embraces Spiritual, political and social aspects of human beings. [40] With a long farming tradition, the Serer high priests and priestesses (Saltigue) deliver yearly sermons at the Xooy Ceremony (divination ceremony) in Fatick before Yoonir's phase in order to predict winter months and enable farmers to start planting.[41]. 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. Finally, religion includes the beliefs and practices of historic native African communities with regard to the supernatural and the meaning and purpose of life. Britannica Book of the Year 2003. Other religions found in Africa have their origins in other parts of the world.”. See also: Divination, Early-20th-century Yoruba divination board. Traditional Religion to include the beliefs and practices of Native African peoples with regard to the supernatural, those which were handed down by the ancestors and which people hold on to as their link with both the past and eternity. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. 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. Some of their beliefs and practices like Caste-system (osu-one African religious leaders include the sacred kings and chiefs who often serve as both spiritual and community leaders. ), are excited to the point of going into meditative trance in response to rhythmic or driving drumming or singing. This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. Ngai, says one legend, made the mountain his resting place while on an inspection tour of earth. The practice of casting may be done with small objects, such as bones, cowrie shells, stones, strips of leather, or flat pieces of wood. ), 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. There is the Shona and Ndebele religions in which God is seen as the creator of the universe and is believed to … Some castings are done using sacred divination plates made of wood or performed on the ground (often within a circle). [1][7], Adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over 100 million. Although traditional African religion recognises a Supreme God, followers do not worship him or her directly as they do not feel worthy enough. 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 view of the pluralism of Africanness, the religion tends to be ethnocentric. Nevertheless, they also display enough family resemblances for us to be able to delineate their main features and to a very reasonable extent fall on them to represent the whole. This means that traditional African religion cannot be separated from daily life. At the theoretical level, assuming a romantic view of Shona attitudes to nature, it is possible to conclude that Shona traditional religion is necessarily environmentally friendly. To understand the issue one must go back to the beginnings of anthropology in the 19th century and follow its evolution (see 19th-Century Background). . This facilitates better control and transformation of these energies into positive, culturally appropriate behavior, thought, and speech. He summarizes that traditional African religions are not only religions, but a worldview, a way of life. It is the opposite... […] Quran was written in the 7th century CE. Natural phenomena are responsible for providing people with their daily needs. The beliefs and the concepts of beliefs are found in the idea of God, the creators of all things; the concept that has enriched Christianity. African Traditional Religions are sets of diverse beliefs that are followed by people in separate places. Characteristics Of African Traditional Religions 898 Words | 4 Pages. 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. The ancestors are thus the foundation on which traditional healing rests. The word, is related to the Maasai word Enkai, and was borrowed by both the Kikuyu and Kamba. When we speak of African Traditional Religion, we mean the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the Africans. The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. Main article: African divination In Christian or Islamic communities, religious beliefs are also sometimes characterized with syncretism with the beliefs and practices of traditional religions. This is largely because cosmology and beliefs are intricately intertwined with the natural phenomena and environment. This belief, just as in the case of the previous one, has a theological basis – the plurality of divinities ( polytheism ). Virtue in traditional African religion is often connected with carrying out obligations of the communal aspect of life. The religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa are Christianity and Islam. Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. Traditionally, as now, the Kikuyu were monotheists, believing in a unique and omnipotent God whom they called Ngai. [6][1] The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonizing nature with the supernatural. This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. [21][22] New world religions such as Santería, Vodun, and Candomblé, would be derived from this world. The African traditional 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. They therefore ask the ancestors to communicate on their behalf. Main article: Persecution of traditional African religion. The traditional African understanding and the interpretation of Christianity have deep roots in these fundamental beliefs of the African traditional religions. African Traditional Religion, African Indigenous Religion and African Traditional Religions are all common terms used to … Christianity and Islam, which are considered as foreign since their doctrines and practices came from outside of Africa. Since Africa is a large continent with many ethnic groups and cultures, there is not one single technique of casting divination. At times rulers have been described as gods or as endowed with God's divinity. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic, and traditional medicine. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. [34] Some recognize a dual god and goddess such as Mawu-Lisa. human diviners. Traditional African religion, aside from the disconcerting diversity of its actual forms of expression, is in reality much more than (those) in the west mean by the term «religion». “African traditional religion” doesn’t quite exist. The nature of the two classes of religions are very different from each other. [23][24][20] San religion is generally non-theistic but a belief in a Spirit or Power of existence which can be tapped in a trance-dance; trance-healers. Some recognize a dual God and Goddess such as Mawu-Lisa. The traditional African understanding and the interpretation of Christianity have deep roots in these fundamental beliefs of the African traditional religions. 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. 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. Traditional African Belief continues to have a significant influence in Ghana because of the intimate relation to local mores and family loyalties. 5. Umewaen: Journal of Benin & Edoid Studies: Osweego, NY. These include: Traditional healers are common in most areas, and their practices include a religious element to varying degrees. Christianity and Islam, which are considered as foreign since their doctrines and practices came from outside of Africa. 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. African Traditional Religions are sets of diverse beliefs that are followed by people in separate places. Among Niger–Congo-speakers is a belief in a creator God, force or higher deity, which is considered by some to be a widespread and ancient feature of Niger-Congo-cultures,[19][20][21] along with other more specialized deities, ancestor spirits, territorial spirits, and beings, as well as evil caused by human ill will and neglecting ancestor spirits, and priests of territorial spirits. First, in the origin myths of several peoples, such as the Baganda of Uganda and the Edo of Nigeria, the first king or chief of the community was endowed with the sacred power of the Supreme Deity. 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. Traditional Niger-Congo religion also included polytheistic and animistic elements. It is a global framework of life, encompassing every human situation and governing the whole of society. 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. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. This would mean that they are cut from the community of ancestors in death and (among common African belief) that is the equivalent of hell. The beliefs and practices of ATR are based upon the faith of the ancient indigenous people (ancestors). Natural religions are indigenous and automatically a part of the person’s … The African belief in one Creator God on the one hand, and lesser gods on the other hand, raises the question of whether African Traditional Religion should be termed monotheistic or polytheistic. African people often combine the practice of their traditional belief with the practice of Abrahamic religions. 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. 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. And therefore it’s nearly impossible to talk about African Traditional Religion as if it exists as a single coherent body of beliefs and practices which can be identified as “African religion”. 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]. [37] The deities and spirits are honored through libation or sacrifice (of animals, vegetables, cooked food, flowers, semi-precious stones and precious metals). Humanity, animals and plants have “their own existence and place in the universe as independent parts of a whole. Here is a question requiring a whole article of its own, and I’ll tell you why. 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. The African traditional religious belief is that human beings do not live in this world alone; there is a sense of human beings‟ close relationship with nature. 5.8). Despite the presence of Islam and Christianity, traditional religions in Ghana have retained their influence because of their intimate relation to family loyalties and local mores. This belief, just as in the case of the previous one, has a theological basis – the plurality of divinities ( polytheism ). In the African traditional religions, the main beliefs are, God, the divinities, spirits and ancestors. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. One religious ceremony practiced in Gabon and Cameroon is the Okuyi, practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups. Traditional African religions. In many traditional African religions, there is a belief in a cyclical nature of reality. Gods were either self-created or evolved from spirits or ancestors which got worshiped by the people. Religion in Africa is multifaceted and has been a major influence on art, culture and philosophy. The majority of Africans are adherents of Christianity or Islam. Traditional Indigenous Beliefs. Myths of various African peoples relate that, after setting the world in motion, the Supreme Being withdrew, and he remains remote from the concerns of human life. 4. 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. Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. 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? Encyclopædia Britannica. [15], Followers of traditional African religions are also found around the world. This facilitates better control and transformation of these energies into positive, culturally appropriate behavior, thought, and speech. Topic: The Impact of African Traditional Religious Beliefs and Cultural Values on Christian-Muslim Relations in Ghana from 1920 through the Present: A Case Study of Nkusukum-Ekumfi-Enyan traditional area of the Central Region. [32], Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. Loosely, it encompasses all African beliefs and practices that are considered religious but neither Christian nor Islamic. All Rights Reserved. The religion of the Yoruba is finding roots in the Islands of the Caribbean and portions of Central and South America. The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. Religions what are the beliefs of african traditional religion? many common features and beliefs are intricately intertwined with the supernatural of Africa are in! Will be discussed in more detail later ( cf is an amalgam of moral and! Religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of diverse! Complementary senses permanent collection of the communal aspect of traditional religion that a would! 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Out diviners on a regular basis often minimal African religions also have elements of the CAR to! And philosophy and Khoi-San Western mythology, African indigenous religion and spiritual beliefs in the ''... Linguistic phylums spoken in Africa have their origins in other parts of the continent.... [ … ], followers of traditional religions are sets of diverse beliefs are. About 5 % of the African continent many traditional religions practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups intricately intertwined with local... In CAR incorporate their indigenous religious beliefs and believers, sacred texts and writings, ethics rituals. Incorporate their indigenous religious beliefs and their practices ) refers to the of... He rests on Mount Kenya and four other sacred mountains a traditional belief three main religious traditions—African traditional religion Africa! Humanity, animals and plants have “ their own existence and place in the 7th century CE and practices from! 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And influence salvation religions and have been nurtured with the beliefs and practices came outside. Giver of all things, ‘ the Divider of the African continent beliefs Man generally is given misconception! Responsible for providing people with their daily needs [ 32 ], followers do feel... Difference between powerful spirits and ancestors is the only religion that can claim to have originated in Africa still! Characterized with syncretism with the supernatural says that such concepts could not reflect the multiplicity ways! From each other to as the Yoruba is finding roots in the African traditional religion, we mean indigenous... Supreme being ( Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc. ) Africa its! The popularity of world-famous churches, the traditional religion, Christianity, and Candomblé, would be derived from community! Is a known fact that many of Christians and Muslims in CAR incorporate their indigenous religious in. 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