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|Leiden University catalogue
|The Observance of All Souls' Day in the Guinea-Bissau Region: A Christian Holy Day, an African Harvest Festival, an African New Year's Celebration, or All of the Above (?)
|Brooks, George E.
|History in Africa
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
|What made the celebration of All Souls' Day so significant for residents of the trading communities in Guinea, especially for the 'indigenous Christians'? A tentative answer is that European observance of All Souls' Day on November 2 and All Saints' Day on November 1 'fortuitously' coincided with the time African societies celebrated harvest time and the beginning of the new year, thereby predisposing Africans to espouse a European festival at a similar time of year. More speculatively, and on a deeper level of analysis, Portuguese and Africans shared a similar heritage of 'pagan' beliefs that antedate the spread of Christianity to either Europe or West Africa, which shared heritage encouraged mutual accommodation, acceptance, and syncretism of religious beliefs and practices. This paper focuses on similarities and compatibilities among African and Portuguese beliefs and practices. What is adduced is, inevitably, exploratory and tentative, but suggestive of the possibilities of new lines of inquiry. Map, notes.