Rites And Rituals

DINYANGI - Child Birth celebration

Should not be confused with New Born Celebration (BUA). Dinyangi is common in all the clans that make up the Oroko tribe and is danced in the same way as shown in the photos below. Ingredients that are never absent- Baby powder, drums

  •  Death Celebration
  •  Marriage Celebration
  •  The Making of a Chief

Oroko Traditional Religious Beliefs: Meanings And Origin

By Victor Malle Isele



The oroko people do not doubt or speculate the existence of the Divine. They believe that life came from the Divine, who sustains the world. The world is not a product of chance, but a given reality to us by God, the Father and creator of everything.


The Oroko people believe in the hierarchy of gods headed by the Supreme Being ---the God. Hence, we hear of the god of the mountains, gods of rivers, gods of the families and gods of harvest. It is thus Divinity which is believed to influence the action in each area.


The Oroko families include both the living and the dead. Those who are dead are in the world of the Divine and since they are now with God, they are more powerful.  Also, since they lived on earth, they are still part of the family and they understand the problems of  the people better. Hence they are invoked to play an intercessory role and it is not every one who becomes an ancestor .To qualify, one must have been a family head, clan or tribal lord. Such a person must have lived an exemplary life .In this way, our ancestors are our traditional African saints or holy people who are dead and are with God.


The Oroko people believe that there is the existence of invisible world of the spirits. Good spirits influence positively and bring joy as well as happiness while bad spirit influence or brings mischief, sadness and sufferings. To better protect him or her self from those bad sprits, most Oroko people always move with concoctions of leaves or back of trees that have either been placed into the blood stream using a razor blade or has been tied into a ring or sewed into small bags.


The Oroko people in particular and Africans in general, have an inborn thirst for decency and high moral code of conduct. Hence a thing or a behavior is considered right or wrong depending on the culture or tradition of the ancestors.


Worship means to communicate and present our problems to the Supreme Being. The Oroko people believe that there is a God called “Obase” and ancestors called “Melimo”, and that the “Melimos” can communicate to God directly. The Oroko people manifest their beliefs by celebrating any aspect of life such as birth, naming, circumcision, death, marriage, burial and planting. In the oroko tradition, worship is done in a particular way. Special people are charge with these responsibilities.  Special people such as the chief priests called (kuh) or title holders, family heads and traditional doctors are responsible for carrying out these activities. In the oroko society, the traditional ruler is the chief priest because it is he who can communicate directly with the ancestors to ensure the wellbeing of his community .It is the chief priest who invokes the ancestors to give them abundant harvest, child birth, peace and good health .In other to communicate with the ancestors the chief priest go to particular places such as shrines, graves, sacred places such as large lakes , big trees etc.There are particular ways in which the oroko people worship, called rituals.   They consult the soothsayer (ngambeman).  This involves the slaughter of fowls or animals and sprinkling of the blood. This is then accompanied by the pouring of libation (palm wine) and the presentation of the problems to the invisible ancestors.  Thanks giving (supplication) and the asking of something for protection. A value is either a way of doing something or a belief that  people accept, respect and uphold. Most Oroko people share these values or uphold it.


This belief is instinctive ( the power to know things without being taught), it is spontaneous and taken for granted. It is the measure promise to all logic in Africa. The people will not tolerate that attitude of rejecting the divine or ridiculing it.


The oroko people since time immemorial believe in the solidarity among people. That is why any where they settle or are based,  them do live in solidarity by helping one another. Infact the western idea of an individual capable of defying the community, staying and acting alone is considered an abormination.The logic is that they have a proverb that goes thus, “i am because they are” .A person is considered a person only in relation to his family , tribe and ethnic group. An individual gains his individuality and he or she is identified only in his community. Hence the worst punishment an Oroko man or woman can have is to be ostracized from his/her home. The community in an oroko perspective is very elastic and involves both the dead and the living.