Agricultural rituals

Saturday 29 November 2008 by Florence

In the African regions that have a seasonal rhythm of life allowing relatively important cultures, ceremonies take place at the end of the harvest. The participants ask the spirits and the gods concerned to grant them descendants, to help the crops and increase their livestock.

In the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, rites beg the god Do to grant rain to the farmers. Numerous zoomorphic masks mingling human and animal features are worn at this occasion as in the Gurunsi and the Bobo worships.

Among the Bamana of Mali young men wearing Ciwara crests dance in the evening in the village square after their day’s work in the fields. They glorify the spirit guardian of the harvest and object of worship by the society that bears its name. The common belief is that as the human reproduction is based on the union of men and women, the agricultural fertility is to realise the union between male principles (sun and fire) and female principles (earth and water) and to ensure cooperation between different members of the village so that the ploughing, the sowing and the harvest in general is completed on time and with positive results.

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