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DID YOU KNOW:
1.That the people of the Ancient Benin kingdom now Edo, knew and worshiped Osanobua (God) even before the arrival of the European missionaries. They worshiped Osanobua in Aruosa (meaning the Eye of God) and now Holy Aruosa cathedral.
Holy Aruosa is believed to have been the touch point of Osanobua(God) on the three times he visited the Earth to answer man's petition over problems confronting him (man) on Earth. The Holy Aruosa is where the Oba of Benin worships, and it is not uncommon for the Oba to go there for special thanks giving.
The holy Aruosa doctrine as a church differ from the general grain of Christendom hence during prayer Jesus name is not used or rather worshiped as Aruosa was already in existence before Christ was born or rather, they already worshiped God before the missionaries came with the teaching of Christianity( meaning followers of Christ). Neither the Holy bible nor the Quoran is used in Aruosa except the book called 'the saying and teachings of the ancient Binis' and also regarded as the sacred book of the cathedral.After praying they conclude by saying ' we ask you God to grant our request in your Holy name, and the congregation would chorus, Amen
The mode of worship in Aruosa is a blend of tradition and Judaism. There is no graven image placed any where in the Church as the worshipers look upward to the sky when praying and singing songs of praise and using traditional instruments like Ema and Ukuse ( Drum and maracas)
And the Holy Aruosa cathedral as it is today along Akpakpava road by Igbesamwan juction was said to have been built by late Oba Akenzua 1 in the 1940s to give the original Aruosa (Alter of God ) a befitting edifice.
2.The power , influence and authority of the ancestors are never ridiculed, questioned or challenged by the Benis in secret or in public. To the traditional Benin, it is considered a sacrilege to go contrary to this deeply held belief.
Homage is paid to the ancestors at meal or drinking times by descendants though the ritual practice of throwing food pieces and pouring libation to them before the first bite or drink being taken and also as a way of honoring and remembering them .
It is a rule that the ancestors must eat and drink first before living descendants. Homage paying is not an all male affair, even the females too are involve.
That there are three platforms for the worship of ancestors in Benin kingdom. They are the family alter, the palace and communal alter. The family alter is where the eldest surviving male child, as the chief priest prays and intercedes on behalf of the family members to his departed father.
The palace alter/alters is where a reigning Oba worships his departed Obas. A communal alter, as the name suggests belongs belongs to the community and it is where departed great elders in the community are collectively worshiped during certain festivals. At the community level, the odionwere (eldest male) leads the worship.
3.The Benin People regard the human head as more than a biological entity. The human head to the Benin People is more like an alter through which God can be worshiped for conferring success on a persons life as the saying goes in Benin,'Uhun ake man re' ( meaning One's success/wellbeing starts from the head ).
Success in life, among the Binis, is interpreted to mean that one has a good steering compass in the head. So, the Binis say you have a good head (Uhunoma).
4.The belief in the existence of a guardian spirit (Ehi) among the Benin people is common. It is Ehi's responsibility to help one's head pilot a person through life. In other words, Ehi or guardian spirit is a form of helper. Its mandate is to give support to a person so as to enable him achieve his destiny on earth, already chosen in the spirit world with God and the guardian spirit in attendance. Invariably, The Binis believe that the person in the spirit world chooses a person's station in life. Therefore on earth, he cannot rewrite his destiny , part of which determines the day, week and month on or in which he is born; or the family and the geographical location into which or within which he/she is born.
To explain this fact, the Binis have a saying ' Aise Agbon ri Oba, erinmwin a ke rioe re' meaning one cannot just become a king on earth unless one is ordained from the spirit world. The guardian spirit, is propitiated through the medium of head worship.
Some Bini names which celebrates this factors of Ehi , include Ehiosuomwan (meaning one is lead by the guardian spirit) Ehimwenma ( My guardian spirit is good) Obehi ( In the hands of guardian spirit).
5.That Ogun ( deity of iron) is the concern of every one who deals with metal, from car drivers, bike rider to mechanics to farmers etc and even those who go about their daily affair by just walking or taking public transport and most household have a shrine of Ogun because anyone who uses any iron tools is beholding to the deity.
With our daily lives having a thing or two to do with with metal/iron objects use and the risk that is associated with them, owning a shrine of Ogun in Bini tradition is very vital as it is used to ward off accidents that may happen and also for thanksgiving on sparing ones life over any accidents or other similar problems already overcome.
More to Come:
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