African Traditional Religions are sets of diverse beliefs that are followed by people in separate places. This is largely because cosmology and beliefs are intricately intertwined with the natural phenomena and environment. Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. Other people believed that Ngai’s abode was on Mount Kenya, or else ‘beyond’ its peaks. Inter-religious relations, especially, among African Traditional Religion (ATR) worshippers, Muslims and Christians are becoming sources of social tension and violence. The continued influence of traditional African religion is also evident in some aspects of daily life. This facilitates better control and transformation of these energies into positive, culturally appropriate behavior, thought, and speech. The deities and spirits are honored through libation or sacrifice (of animals, vegetables, cooked food, flowers, semi-precious stones and precious metals). According to him, the belief in spirits and ancestors is the most important element of African religions. Loosely, it encompasses all African beliefs and practices that are considered religious but neither Christian nor Islamic. He summarizes that traditional African religions are not only religions, but a worldview, a way of life. . 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. They have replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. 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. to tag the traditional religion of Africans and believe […] Finally, religion includes the beliefs and practices of historic native African communities with regard to the supernatural and the meaning and purpose of life. In some traditional African religions, morality is associated with obedience or disobedience to God regarding the way a person or a community lives. They have been nurtured with the local practices and culture, but still carry some similarities, like pantheism, in their structures. 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. The practice of casting may be done with small objects, such as bones, cowrie shells, stones, strips of leather, or flat pieces of wood. Some African religions adopted different views through the influence of Islam or even Hinduism.[36]. The ancestors are thus the foundation on which traditional healing rests. [33] This includes also nature, elementary and animal spirits. These include: 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 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. [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. Individuals cannot reject a particular belief, since beliefs are part and parcel of the wider community. It is a global framework of life, encompassing every human situation and governing the whole of society. 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 means that traditional African religion cannot be separated from daily life. Natural religions are indigenous and automatically a part of the person’s … Peavy, D., (2016). 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. [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. Christianity and Islam, which are considered as foreign since their doctrines and practices came from outside of Africa. African religions, religious beliefs and practices of the peoples of Africa.It should be noted that any attempt to generalize about the nature of “African religions” risks wrongly implying that there is homogeneity among all African cultures.In fact, Africa is a vast continent encompassing both geographic variation and tremendous cultural diversity. human diviners. [18], Traditional African religions can be broken down into linguistic cultural groups, with common themes. Main article: List of African mythological figures. Its interaction with African traditional religions is therefore governed by the tension between its supra-ethnic universality of its umma and the ethnocentrism of African traditional religion. The Semitic Abrahamic religion of Judaism is comparable to the latter world view. However, there were many traditional religions practiced prior to the arrival of these two religions. This article examines some of the beliefs and practices underlying traditional African religion's attitudes to nature with reference to Shona religion of Zimbabwe. 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? These secondary spirits serve as intermediaries between humans and the primary God, also referred to as the Supreme Deity. For example, in the Serer religion, one of the most sacred stars in the cosmos is called Yoonir (the Star of Sirius). [39], For example, in the Serer religion, one of the most sacred stars in the cosmos is called Yoonir (the Star of Sirius). [32], Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. The three main religious traditions—African traditional religion, Christianity, and Islam—constitute the triple religious heritage of the African continent. 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. African religions - African religions - Mythology: In African oral cultures, myths embody philosophical reflections, express values, and identify moral standards. 4–5). [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. S. Mbiti, John (1991). Percentage of population practicing traditional religion. The religious traditions and beliefs of the African peoples have enough differences to merit a study of each in its own right. Some castings are done using sacred divination plates made of wood or performed on the ground (often within a circle). Some of their beliefs and practices like Caste-system (osu-one 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. 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. Instead, myths are embedded and transmitted in ritual practice. In recent times, traditional religions, such as the Yoruba religion, are on the rise. 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. 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. Since Africa is a large continent with many ethnic groups and cultures, there is not one single technique of casting divination. about African Traditional Religions. "Traditional Religion", in his. 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. Traditional Indigenous Beliefs. 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 difference between powerful spirits and gods is often minimal. Key words: Religion, Christian, Influence, African traditional religion and Value systems Introduction: The African traditional society is a homogenous and close one with its unique characteristic features that set it apart from other cultures of the world. There is the Shona and Ndebele religions in which God is seen as the creator of the universe and is believed to … Most religions can be described as animistic[4][5] with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. African religious leaders include the sacred kings and chiefs who often serve as both spiritual and community leaders. The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. 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”. The nature of the two classes of religions are very different from each other. African Religion embraces Spiritual, political and social aspects of human beings. Religion in Africa is multifaceted and has been a major influence on art, culture and philosophy. 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]. African Traditional Religion. 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 also religions with a single Supreme being (Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc.). Generally speaking, African religions hold that there is one creator God, the maker of a dynamic universe. The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonising nature with the supernatural. Traditional African beliefs are much older and have been practiced in Zimbabwe longer than any other religion in the country. This is what makes African Religion a traditional belief. Belief in God is found among all African peoples. 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. 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. Yet Ngai is not the distant God that we know in the West. It is an amalgam of moral ideas and practices that permeates all of life at personal and social levels (ibid.). Today, around 10 percent of the African population still practice some form of traditional religion. Traditionally, as now, the Kikuyu were monotheists, believing in a unique and omnipotent God whom they called Ngai. The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions. Often, the supreme Deity is worshiped through consultation or communion with lesser deities and ancestral spirits. 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 three main religious traditions—African traditional religion, Christianity, and Islam—constitute the triple religious heritage of the African continent. There are thousands of religions and denominations in this world. 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