The Ancestors

I was invited to lunch at a newly found friend’s place, a Mozambican girl born in Maputo, and after the food we started discussing religion. She told me about the different beliefs in Mozambique, and the most interesting for me was the Ancestors, which usually are combined with a “normal” religion.

Most people here in Mozambique (and also in South Africa) believe that when the old family members die they become a personal “god” and looks after their family. Once or twice per year the living family members worship the Ancestors through a ceremony that can for example include sacrifice of an animal and dancing. Usually the family do this when they need something specific, like rain for the crops. Because they don’t have a specific place to worship and pay tribute to their Ancestors, they usually have a specific tree instead that they go and sit under while doing this.

This is another proof that the family bonds in the southern countries are tighter than in the north of Europe. Also in these countries it is obvious for the younger family members to take care of their elders (including the husbands parents) when they can’t take care of them selves. This is totally opposite to Scandinavia where it’s the norm to move your elders to an “elder home”, where they have employed people to take care of them.

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