Birifoh Belief System: Perspectives From Birifoh-Sila Yiri, Upper West Region, Ghana

Mahmoud Malik Saako, Samuel N. Nkumbaan, Christopher Boatbil Sormiteyema, Azerikatoa D. Ayoung


The study focuses on the Birifoh beliefs and worship systems in north-western Ghana. This study examined various uses of shrines and circumstances leading to their establishment in Birifoh-Sila Yiri and its environs. Data was collected through participant observation, interviews, focus groups and desktop research. An interpretative analytical approach was employed. The study found that gods or deities (shrines) in the traditional settings are represented by wooden, metal and ceramic figurines. Several shrines were found including ancestral shrines, wooden figurines, earth shrines, chameleon shrines, ceramics figurines, river shrines, xylophone shrine, landed shrine and kunkpenibie shrine. Their functions were to protect hunters and ensure the general welfare of families including childbirth and general prosperity. The belief of Birifoh is that, shrines represent relationships between the spiritual and physical worlds that form part of the Dagaaba and Lobi cosmology.

Keywords: Sila-Yiri, Birifoh, patriclan, figurine, earth shrine, ancestor, religion, diviner

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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