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Yinna Critial Review

980 words - 4 pages

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In Ian Strachan's "The Power of the Dead: African Beliefs and Rituals in the Bahamas" he declares that Christianity is the primary and most endorsed religion of the state and emphasizes that The Bahamas is a Christian nation. However, he argues that "something else has shaped the Bahamian religious experience, vision of life and death, and how the phases of life should be celebrated, mourned, marked and masked". He illustrates this by using the example of Christmas and New Year's , which are two of the most religious days of the Protestant year-- he goes on to describe how "thousands of Bahamians gather to beat African drums, mask themselves and dance in an event which has nothing ...view middle of the document...

Similar to Strachan, Saunders mentioned that many Bahamian women used the market place for organizing "Asue" which is derived from the Yoruba; a West African group, and that in the late nineteenth century most Bahamians were nominally Christians who took the church very seriously. Both authors revealed that Bahamians are a relatively 'new' people and creolization ultimately led to the formation of new identities and tradition which developed a 'Peculiar Bahamian' style. Saunders indicated that Bahamians believed that the dead possessed supernatural powers and mediated among the living; as did Strachan articulate that the dead were not intangible, rather co-existent and had the ability to bring misfortune or blessings on the living and were often thought to be able to take the forms of animate and inanimate objects. Saunders and Strachan also mentioned the fact that Bahamians implemented the African tradition of "Holding Wakes" and "Setting up" and also in the belief and practice of Obeah and noted that many funerals included processions in which the dead were marched, danced and drummed to primarily using brass bands.
I found Strachan's article to be organized, exceedingly interesting as well as enlightening. Throughout the article, Strachan utilizes traditions and beliefs about death and those that are believed to protect the living from the dead--some of which are still practiced today, which makes it incredibly easy to relate, for instance tying a black piece of cloth around the hand of an infant to protect them from the spirits of the dead or wearing clothing on the wrong side with aspirations of not being recognized by spirits. The author retells stories from informants located on various family islands in The Bahamas about their experiences with the dead and the dying; this captures the attention of the reader, and was a little frightening reading some of the incidents . The article is informative and educates readers on the beliefs and rituals of Africans relating to death, not only common in The Bahamas but in other...

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