West African Vodun
Vodun is practiced by the Fon people of Benin, southern and central Togo. It is distinct from the various traditional African religions in the interiors of these countries and is the main source of religions with similar names found among the African diaspora in the Americas, such as Haitian Vodou. Vodun cosmology centers around the vodun spirits and other elements of divine essence that govern the Earth, a hierarchy that range in power from major deities governing the forces of nature and human society to the spirits of individual streams and rocks, as well as dozens of ethnic vodun, defenders of a certain clan, tribe, or nation; the vodun are the center of religious life. Adherents emphasize ancestor worship and hold that the spirits of the dead live side by side with the world of the living, each family of spirits having its own female priesthood, sometimes hereditary when it's from mother to blood daughter. Patterns of worship follow various dialects, practices and rituals; the divine Creator, called variously Mawu or Mahu, is a female being.
She is an elder woman, a mother, gentle and forgiving. She is seen as the god who owns all other gods and if there is no temple made in her name, the people continue to pray to her in times of distress. In one tradition, she bore seven children. Sakpata: Vodun of the Earth, Xêvioso: Vodun of Thunder associated with Divine Justice, Agbe: Vodun of the Sea, Gû: Vodun of Iron and War, Agê: Vodun of Agriculture and Forests, Jo: Vodun of Air, Lêgba: Vodun of the Unpredictable; the Creator embodies a dual cosmogonic principle of which Mawu the moon and Lisa the sun are the female and male aspects portrayed as the twin children of the Creator. Lisa is the sun god who brings the day and the heat, strength and energy. Mawu, the moon goddess, provides the cool of the night, peace and rain. To give this in a summed aspect, a proverb says ` Mawu forgives. Legba is represented as a phallus or as a man with a prominent phallus. Known as the youngest son of Mawu, he is the chief of all Vodun divinities. Being old he is seen as wise, but when seen as a child he is one, rebellious.
It is only through contact with Legba that it becomes possible to contact the other gods, for he is the guardian at the door of the spirits. Dan, Mawu's androgynous son, is represented as a rainbow serpent, was to remain with her and act as a go-between with her other creations; as the mediator between the spirits and the living, Dan maintains balance, order and communication. Other popular Lwa, or spiritual entities include Azaka who rules over agriculture, Erzuli has domain over love, Ogoun, in charge of war and who stands on guard. All creation therefore contains the power of the divine; this is how medicines such as herbal remedies are understood, explains the ubiquitous use of mundane objects in religious ritual. Vodun talismans, called "fetishes", are objects such as statues or dried animal or human parts that are sold for their healing and spiritually rejuvenating properties, they are objects inhabited by spirits. The entities that inhabit a fetish are able to perform different tasks according to their stage of development.
Fetish objects are combined together in the construction of "shrines", used to call forth specific vodun and their associated powers. The Queen Mother is the first daughter of a matriarchal lineage of a family collective, she holds the right to lead the ceremonies incumbent to the clan: marriages and funerals. She is one of the most important members of community, she will lead the women of a village. They take part in the organisation and the running of markets and are responsible for their upkeep, vitally important because marketplaces are the focal points for gatherings and social centres in their communities. In the past when the men of the villages would go to war, the Queen Mothers would lead prayer ceremonies in which all the women attended every morning to ensure the safe return of their menfolk; the high priestess is the woman chosen by the oracle to care for the convent. Priestesses, like priests, receive a calling from an oracle, which may come at any moment during their lives, they will join their clan's convent to pursue spiritual instruction.
It is an oracle that will designate the future high priest and high priestess among the new recruits, establishing an order of succession within the convent. Only blood relatives were allowed in the family convent. In modern days, some of the rules have been changed, enabling non family members to enter what is described as the first circle of worship. Strangers are allowed to worship only the spirits of the standard pantheon. About 17% of the population of Benin, some 1.6 million people, follow Vodun. In addition, many of the 41.5% of the population that refer to themselves as "Christian" practice a syncretized religion, not dissimilar from Haitian Vodou or Brazilian Candomblé.
The Yoruba religion comprises the traditional religious and spiritual concepts and practice of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in present-day Southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo known as Yorubaland, it is similar to the Vodun practiced by the neighboring Fon and Ewe people to the west and to the religion of the Edo people to the east. Yoruba religion is the basis for a number of religions in the New World, notably Santería, Trinidad Orisha and Candomblé. Yoruba religious beliefs are part of Itan, the total complex of songs, histories and other cultural concepts which make up the Yoruba society. According to Kola Abimbola, the Yoruba have evolved a robust cosmology. In brief, it holds that all human beings possess what is known as "Ayanmo" and are expected to become one in spirit with Olodumare. Furthermore, the thoughts and actions of each person in Ayé interact with all other living things, including the Earth itself; each person attempts to find their destiny in Orun-Rere.
One's ori-inu must grow in order to consummate union with one's "Iponri". Those who stop growing spiritually, in any of their given lives, are destined for "Orun-Apadi". Life and death are said to be cycles of existence in a series of physical bodies while one's spirit evolves toward transcendence; this evolution is said to be most evident amongst the divine viziers of Olorun. Iwapẹlẹ meditative recitation and sincere veneration is sufficient to strengthen the ori-inu of most people. Well-balanced people, it is believed, are able to make positive use of the simplest form of connection between their Oris and the omnipotent Olu-Orun: an adura for divine support. Prayer to one's Ori Orun produces an immediate sensation of joy. Elegbara initiates contact with spiritual realm on behalf of the petitioner, transmits the prayer to Ayé, he transmits this prayer without distorting it in any way. Thereafter, the petitioner may be satisfied with a personal answer. In the event that he or she is not, the Ifá oracle of the Orisha Orunmila may be consulted.
All communication with Orun, whether simplistic in the form of a personal prayer or complicated in the form of that done by an initiated Babalawo, however, is energized by invoking ase. In the Yoruba belief system, Olodumare has ase over all. Hence, Is considered supreme. Olodumare is the most important "state of existence". Regarded as being all-encompassing, no gender can be assigned. Hence, it is common to hear references to "it" or "they". "They" are the owner of all heads. In this, Olodumare is Supreme. One of the most important human endeavors extolled within the Yoruba literary corpus is the quest to improve one's "Iwa". In this way the teachings transcends religious doctrine, advising as it does that a person must improve his/her civic and intellectual spheres of being. Central to this is the theme of both individual and collective; the Yoruba regard Olodumare as the principal agent of creation. According to a Yoruba account of creation, during a certain stage in this process, the "truth" was sent to confirm the habitability of the newly formed planets.
The earth being one of these was deemed too wet for conventional life. After a successful period of time, a number of divinities led by Obatala were sent to accomplish the task of helping earth develop its crust. On one of their visits to the realm, the arch-divinity Obatala took to the stage equipped with a mollusk that concealed some form of soil; the contents were emptied onto what soon became a large mound on the surface of the water and soon after, the winged-beasts began to scatter this around until the point where it made into a large patch of dry land. Obatala named the place Ife; the land became fertile and plant life began to flourish. From handfuls of earth he began to mold figurines. Meanwhile, as this was happening on earth, Olodumare gathered the gases from the far reaches of space and sparked an explosion that shaped into a fireball, he subsequently sent it to Ife, where it dried much of the land and began to bake the motionless figurines. It was at this point that Olodumare released the "breath of life" to blow across the land, the figurines came into "being" as the first people of Ife.
For this reason, Ife is locally referred to as "Ife Oodaye" - "cradle of existence". An Orisha is an entity that possesses the capability of reflecting some of the manifestations of Olodumare. Yoruba Orishas are described as intermediaries between humankind and the supernatural; the term is translated as "Deities" or "Divinities" or "Gods". Orisha are revered for having control over specific elements by nature, thus being better referred to as the divinities or Imole. So, there are those of their number that are more akin to ancient heroes and/or sages; these are best addre
The Americas comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they comprise the New World. Along with their associated islands, they cover 8% of Earth's total surface area and 28.4% of its land area. The topography is dominated by the American Cordillera, a long chain of mountains that runs the length of the west coast; the flatter eastern side of the Americas is dominated by large river basins, such as the Amazon, St. Lawrence River / Great Lakes basin, La Plata. Since the Americas extend 14,000 km from north to south, the climate and ecology vary from the arctic tundra of Northern Canada and Alaska, to the tropical rain forests in Central America and South America. Humans first settled the Americas from Asia between 17,000 years ago. A second migration of Na-Dene speakers followed from Asia; the subsequent migration of the Inuit into the neoarctic around 3500 BCE completed what is regarded as the settlement by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The first known European settlement in the Americas was by the Norse explorer Leif Erikson.
However, the colonization never became permanent and was abandoned. The Spanish voyages of Christopher Columbus from 1492 to 1502 resulted in permanent contact with European powers, which led to the Columbian exchange and inaugurated a period of exploration and colonization whose effects and consequences persist to the present. Diseases introduced from Europe and West Africa devastated the indigenous peoples, the European powers colonized the Americas. Mass emigration from Europe, including large numbers of indentured servants, importation of African slaves replaced the indigenous peoples. Decolonization of the Americas began with the American Revolution in the 1770s and ended with the Spanish–American War in the late 1890s. All of the population of the Americas resides in independent countries; the Americas are home to over a billion inhabitants, two-thirds of which reside in the United States, Brazil, or Mexico. It is home to eight megacities: New York City, Mexico City, São Paulo, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Bogotá, Lima.
The name America was first recorded in 1507. Christie's auction house says a two-dimensional globe created by Martin Waldseemüller was the earliest recorded use of the term; the name was used in the Cosmographiae Introductio written by Matthias Ringmann, in reference to South America. It was applied to both North and South America by Gerardus Mercator in 1538. America derives from the Latin version of Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci's first name; the feminine form America accorded with the feminine names of Asia and Europa. In modern English and South America are considered separate continents, taken together are called America or the Americas in the plural; when conceived as a unitary continent, the form is the continent of America in the singular. However, without a clarifying context, singular America in English refers to the United States of America. In the English-speaking world, the term America used to refer to a single continent until the 1950s: According to historians Kären Wigen and Martin W. Lewis, While it might seem surprising to find North and South America still joined into a single continent in a book published in the United States in 1937, such a notion remained common until World War II.
By the 1950s, however all American geographers had come to insist that the visually distinct landmasses of North and South America deserved separate designations. This shift did not seem to happen in Romance-speaking countries, where America is still considered a continent encompassing the North America and South America subcontinents, as well as Central America; the first inhabitants migrated into the Americas from Asia. Habitation sites are known in Alaska and the Yukon from at least 20,000 years ago, with suggested ages of up to 40,000 years. Beyond that, the specifics of the Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the dates and routes traveled, are subject to ongoing research and discussion. Widespread habitation of the Americas occurred during the late glacial maximum, from 16,000 to 13,000 years ago; the traditional theory has been that these early migrants moved into the Beringia land bridge between eastern Siberia and present-day Alaska around 40,000–17,000 years ago, when sea levels were lowered during the Quaternary glaciation.
These people are believed to have followed herds of now-extinct pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific coast to South America. Evidence of the latter would since have been covered by a sea level rise of hundreds of meters following the last ice age. Both routes may have
Afro-American religion are a number of related religions that developed in the Americas in various nations of Latin America, the Caribbean, the southern United States. They derive from traditional African religions with some influence from other religious traditions, notably Christianity. Afro-American religions involve veneration of the dead, include a creator deity along with a pantheon of divine spirits such as the Orisha, Loa and Alusi, among others. In addition to the religious syncretism of these various African traditions, many incorporate elements of Folk Catholicism, Native American religion, Spiritism and European folklore. Espiritismo Hoodoo Kélé Puerto Rican Vudú or Sanse Rastafarianism, Jamaica Santo Daime Tambor de Mina Quimbois. Xangô de Recife Xangô do Nordeste Black theology Roots and Rooted
The Nupe, traditionally called the Tapa by the neighbouring Yoruba, are an ethnic group located in the Middle Belt and northern Nigeria, are the dominant group in Niger State, an important minority in Kwara State and present in Kogi State as well. The Nupe trace their origin to Tsoede who fled the court of Idah and established a loose confederation of towns along the Niger in the 15th century; the proximity of Nupe to the Yoruba Igbomina people in the south and to the Yoruba Oyo people in the southwest led to cross-fertilization of cultural influences through trade and conflicts over the centuries. Many Nupe were converted to Islam at the end of the eighteenth century by Mallam Dendo, a wandering preacher, were incorporated into the Fulani Empire established by the Jihad led by Usman dan Fodio after 1806. However, the traditions of Nupe were retained, hence the ruler of Nupe is the Etsu Nupe rather than being called Emir; the city of Bida fell to the colonialist British forces in 1897, the Etsu Abubakar was deposed and replaced by the more pliable Muhammadu.
During the reign of Muhammadu, a Prince named Jimada moved to Patigi, northeast of Bida protesting against being ruled by a Fulani. Now Jimada’s descendants are fighting for the post of Etsu Nupe claiming to be the only existing pure Nupe ruling family; the present Etsu Nupe is Yahaya Abubakar. More detail on the history of the Nupe kingdoms can be found in Burdon, Hogben & Kirk-Greene and Mason. There are about 3.5 million Nupes, principally in Niger State, although a small but growing diaspora of Nupe can be found in Knowle in the West Midlands of England. The Nupe language is spoken in Kwara and Kogi States, they are Muslims, with a few Christians and followers of African Traditional Religion. The Nupe people have several traditional rulers; the Etsu Nupe is not Nupe and is part of the Fula tribe but they came to rule the Bida in the 1806. They have no present capital, although they were based at Rabah and only moved to Bida in the nineteenth century; the Nupe people have various traditions. Much of their culture was diluted by the Usman Dan Fodio jihad of the 19th century, but they still hold on to some of their culture, similar to that of ancient Egypt.
Many Nupe people have tribal scars on their faces, some to identify their prestige and the family of which they belong as well as for protection, as well as jewelry adornment. But these traditions are dying out in certain areas, their art is abstract. They are well known for their wooden stools with patterns carved onto the surface; the Nupe were described in detail by the ethnographer Siegfried Nadel, whose book, Black Byzantium, remains an anthropological classic. Blench, R. M. "Islam among the Nupe." Muslim peoples. Westview Press, Colorado. Forde, D; the Nupe. pp. 17–52 in Peoples of the Niger-Benue Confluence. IAI, London. Ibrahim, Saidu 1992; the Nupe and their neighbours from the 14th century. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational books. Madugu, I. G; the a construction in Nupe: Perfective, Causative or Instrumental. In Kim C-W. & Stahlke H. Papers in African Linguistics, I' pp. 81–100. Linguistic Research Institute, Champaign. Perani, J. M. Nupe crafts. Ph. D. Fine Arts, Indiana University. Stevens, P. Nupe woodcarving.
Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity was made by the Director-General of UNESCO starting in 2001 to raise awareness of intangible cultural heritage and encourage local communities to protect them and the local people who sustain these forms of cultural expressions. Several manifestations of intangible heritage around the world were awarded the title of Masterpieces to recognize the value of the non-material component of culture, as well as entail the commitment of states to promote and safeguard the Masterpieces. Further proclamations occurred biennially; the list totaled 429 elements as of 2017. UNESCO defines oral and intangible heritage as "the totality of tradition-based creations of a cultural community expressed by a group or individuals and recognized as reflecting the expectations of a community in so far as they reflect its cultural and social identity." Language, literature and dance, games and sports, culinary traditions and mythologies, knowledge and practices concerning the universe, know-how linked to handicrafts, cultural spaces are among the many forms of intangible heritage.
Intangible heritage is seen as a repository of cultural diversity, creative expression, as well as a driving force for living cultures. Since it can be vulnerable to forces of globalization, social transformation, intolerance, UNESCO encourages communities to identify, protect and revitalize such heritage. Upon the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity on November 2001, UNESCO encouraged recognition and protection of intangible heritage in the same way as natural and cultural treasures of tangible heritage are protected. Although UNESCO has had a program to protect the world's cultural and natural heritage, known as the World Heritage List, it thought that the List was directed to the protection and representation of tangible, monumental elements of past cultures or natural environment; the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, is UNESCO's response to the call for humanity to widen its concept of cultural heritage by bringing in the intangible aspects.
The idea for the project came from people concerned about Morocco's Jeema' el Fna Square in Marrakesh. The square is known for traditional activities by storytellers and other performers, but it was threatened by economic development pressures. In fighting for the protection of traditions, the residents called for action on an international level to recognize the need for the protection of such places—termed as cultural spaces—and other popular and traditional forms of cultural expression; the UNESCO label of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity aims to raise awareness about the importance of oral and intangible heritage as an essential component of cultural diversity. Beginning in 2001, the new program has started identifying various forms of intangible heritage around the world for safeguarding through a Proclamation. Under this act, national governments acceding to the UNESCO Convention, known as member states, are each allowed to submit a single candidature file, in addition to multi-national nominations, of intangible cultural heritage occurring within their territories.
The nominated intangible heritage may fall into two categories as set by the program: forms of popular and traditional cultural expressions. A set of criteria has been created to aid in the assessing of the nominations; the cultural expressions and spaces proposed for proclamation had to: demonstrate their outstanding value as masterpiece of the human creative genius. Furthermore, the nominees should be in conformity with UNESCO ideals, in particular, with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the nomination proposals had to provide proof of the full involvement and agreement of the local communities and to include an action plan for the safeguarding or promotion of the concerned cultural spaces or expressions, which should have been elaborated in close collaboration with the tradition bearers. Through the nomination process, the member states are encouraged to compile an inventory of their intangible heritage, raising awareness and protection of these treasures. In turn, the proclaimed Masterpieces receive commitment from UNESCO in financing plans for their conservation.
Proclamations in 2001, 2003 and 2005, designated a total of 90 forms of intangible heritage around the world as Masterpieces: The increasing number of candidature files received and number of Masterpieces proclaimed every two years meant that UNESCO's goal of raising awareness on the importance of the protection of intangible heritage has been achieved. The rise in the number of participating member states led to the 2003 adoption of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which took effect in 2008; the standard-setting instrument was meant to complement the 1972 World Heritage Convention in its protection of intangible culture. Following the successful example of the World Heritage Convention