Ritualization among the Abanyole: A study of cleansing rituals
KWEINGOTI, Onyango R. Gibson
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This study seeks to find out the nature of the function of the Abanyole cleansing rituals. It investigates the Abanyole cultural and religious knowledge transmitted through rituals and the effects they have on the social and spiritual life of the Abanyole. There are several rituals that characterized the Abanyole traditional religious aspects of life. For example departure and arrival ritual purification mourning, incorporation, planting-harvesting, establishing new homesteads, marriage relationship, healing reconciliation, appreciation and settling dispute rituals. These rituals bind Abanyole to have a common belief that the ancestral spirits and the supernatural being controls every aspect of human and nature's life. A ritual is never a matter of routine, habit or the dead weight of tradition but a suitable means of securing cultural knowledge. It is an affirmation of communal unity in contrast to competitiveness of social life and organization. It is eminently suitable for organizing a theoretical conversation that wishes to uncover a cultural meaning through its practices. This study attempts to analyze the effects of ritualization as practice on the socioreligious life of the contemporary Abanyole community. The study examines the elaborate proceedings of Abanyole rituals that comprises personal and public activities and identifies their significance in the socio-religious life of the community. Under normal circumstances the Abanyole personal rituals affected the individual life and status whereas public rituals consist of external activities taking place outside the person's life thus affecting the environment in which he lives. The study relied on the secondary and primary sources of data. There were 250 informants from-the Abanyole community consisting of scholars and religious leaders who have authority in African Traditional Religion. Data was collected using observation and questionnaire. It was evaluated by critically examining each questionnaire and recording case themes from all informants. The tape recorded data was transcribed and translated into English then analyzed according to case themes ofthe study. The study is a contribution to knowledge that benefits institutionalized religious leaders, lecturers of religion and literature, and Social scientists. The thesis has five major divisions of study. Chapter One is the Introduction of the Study. Chapter Two is the Literature Review. Chapter Three discusses the Methodology adopted for the study. Chapter four discusses specific rituals and their significance and how they affect the socio-religion life of Abanyole. It also discusses the fading away and discarded rituals as well as identifying various effects of rituals on the socio-religious life of the contemporary Abanyole. Chapter Five embodies constructive conclusions and formulates the recommendations for future research and summarizes the research findings.